Monster trucks don’t look like monsters. They don’t have fur or claws or big drippy tongues. They’re just really huge. How huge? Their tires have to be at least 66 inches tall, which might be taller than you are! Then our fan Mero H. asked, how fast can a monster truck go? It turns out they do drive more slowly than the long skinny trucks on the highway. Bryce Kenny has the world speed record for a monster truck, at 100 miles per hour. Even at that pokey speed, these trucks can do tricks: a 10,000-pound monster truck drove off a ramp and jumped 237 feet! Good thing it had big poofy tires for the landing.
Wee ones: What shape is a truck tire? What food has the same kind of shape?
Little kids: If a monster truck turns left, then right, then right, then left again to repeat the pattern, then right…which way should it turn next? Bonus: Which weighs more, two 4,000-pound cars together, or a 10,000-pound truck?
Big kids: How many feet and inches tall is a 66-inch monster tire? Bonus: Who’s taller, you or that 66-inch monster tire — and by how many inches?
The sky’s the limit: If you jump a truck 237 feet, then on your 2nd try you jump just 189 feet, then on your 3rd try you land between those 2 spots but twice as far from your 2nd jump as your 1st…how long is your 3rd jump?
Wee ones: A circle, or in 3-D a “torus” — which is the shape of a donut!
Little kids: Right. Bonus: The 10,000-pound truck, because it weighs more than 8,000 pounds.
Big kids: 5 feet 6 inches. Bonus: Different for everyone…find your height in inches, and subtract from 66 or subtract 66 from your height. Imagine a truck tire that tall standing next to you!
The sky’s the limit: 221 feet. The 2 jumps are 48 feet apart, and if the gap from one is double the gap from the other, that bigger gap is like 2 of the smaller gaps. So that 48 feet is the same as 3 of the smaller gaps. 1/3 of 48 is 16, so you land 16 feet short of the 1st jump, putting you at 221 feet (which is 32 feet more than 189, like we hoped!).
Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.