(Note to parents: As we do on special holidays, today we’ve included an extra math problem about Passover, for those who celebrate or would like to learn more about it. Enjoy!)
This evening marks the beginning of Passover, the Jewish celebration of freedom from slavery in Egypt over 3,000 years ago. It also celebrates the creation of the Jewish nation under Moses, as told in Exodus. Thousands of years later, Jewish people celebrate this important holiday during 7 or 8 days. It’s a great time to get together with family and friends to share special foods. And depending on how big your family is, you might need a LOT of food, like the world’s largest matzo ball. This giant ball was almost 30 inches wide and weighed 267 pounds! But those aren’t the only numbers you can find in Passover. Counting the days and nights, counting the questions, and watching for the time of sunset all use important numbers for this holiday. Read on for some Passover math!
Wee ones: During the Seder, you might get to ask the 4 questions about why Passover is different from any other holiday. If you’ve asked the first 2 questions, how many questions do you have left?
Little kids: Passover starts at sundown. If the sun sets at 8:00 pm tonight and right now it’s 6:00, how many hours until Passover starts? Bonus: If Passover ends 8 days from now, and today is April 1, what date is the last day?
Big kids: During the Seder, adults sometimes hide the afikomen (piece of matzah), and dinner can’t finish until the kids find it. If the afikomen is hidden at 8:55 pm and it takes you all 7 minutes to find it, at what time can you finish dinner? Bonus: How many of you would you need to pile up to weigh at least as much as that 267-pound matzo ball?
Wee ones: 2 more questions.
Little kids: 2 more hours. Bonus: April 9.
Big kids: At 9:02 pm. Bonus: Different for everyone…add your weight in pounds to itself until it is 267 pounds, or a little more.
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.