Have you ever watched a squirrel bury a nut, and wondered if he’ll ever find it again? We people play the same game when we bury a “time capsule.” We take special things from our lives, put them in a container, and save them in a safe place for other people to find years later. They get to see the kinds of clothes, money, phones and toys we used, which might look really different from their clothes and toys in the future. Museum experts in Boston found a time capsule that was first buried in the year 1795! They dug it out from under the corner of the Massachusetts State House. Inside the box they found hexagon-shaped coins from as far back as 1652, and packed-down sheets of the Boston Daily newspaper. Try making your own time capsule — years from now, pennies might not be circles anymore!
Wee ones: If you could put 4 of your favorite toys in a time capsule, which ones would they be? Count them up!
Little kids: It took about 5 hours to unscrew the screws on the Boston time capsule. If they started at 2:00 pm, when did they finally open the box? Bonus: The time capsule contained 24 coins. If just 1 coin was a hexagon, how many coins were other shapes?
Big kids: If you make a time capsule today about yourself and open it 27 years from now, how old will you be? Bonus: When did the 1795 time capsule turn 100 years old?
The sky’s the limit: If you make a time capsule and open it 25 years later, and your age at that point is 6 times the age you were when you made the capsule, how old are you when you open it?
Wee ones: Think of your 4 favorite toys: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Little kids: At 7:00 pm. Bonus: 23 coins.
Big kids: Different for everyone…add 27 to your current age. Bonus: In 1895.
The sky’s the limit: You are 30 years old. If you’re 6 times the original age, that 25 adds 5 times that age, so it’s 5/6 of your final age.
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.