We have lots of robots in our lives, from the ice maker in a freezer to vending machines that spit out candy. But robots are more fun when they look like people. That’s how Transformers started: take a chunky toy car or truck, turn out the sides to make arms and legs, and boom, suddenly you have a humanoid robot! So some folks in Turkey went a step further. They built a real Transformer out of a real car. As the video shows, this red BMW unfolds, stands up, and pops out doors from under its arms. It’s so cool to see these huge pieces that weigh hundreds of pounds reshape into a giant toy. The question is, how many toy Transformers would it take to match this thing?
Wee ones: Count your arms and legs. How many “pieces” do you have in total?
Little kids: The car takes about 7 seconds to spread its doors and 12 seconds to stand up. Which takes longer? Bonus: If the car is 15 feet long, but becomes 1 foot longer when it stands up, how tall is it while standing up?
Big kids: If it takes 1 minute 6 seconds to transform the car into a robot, and the same time to transform back to a car, with 5 seconds in between, how long does all of that take together? Bonus: If your Transformer weighs 1/2 pound and that BMW weighs 3,000 pounds, how many Transformers does it take to match the weight of the “real” Transformer? (Hint if needed: How much do 2 Transformers weigh? Then how many sets of those do you need?)
Wee ones: 4 “pieces.”
Little kids: Standing up takes longer. Bonus: 16 feet long.
Big kids: 2 minutes 17 seconds. Bonus: 6,000 toy Transformers!
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.