Sometimes people make a wrong turn while driving. But flying a plane the wrong way is a bigger deal. Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, an early airplane pilot was supposed to fly from New York to California. Somehow he ended up flying in the opposite direction — all the way over the Atlantic Ocean to Ireland! He said he got lost because it was cloudy out, and in the dim light he couldn’t read his compass. So he flew east instead of west. Luckily, he had always wanted to fly to Ireland — this was back in 1938, when not many people had crossed the Atlantic. And he’d built his plane himself, adding extra fuel tanks for long trips. All he brought to eat, though, were 2 boxes of fig bars and 2 chocolate bars…because he’d planned for a shorter trip!
Wee ones: If Wrong Way ate 3 fig bars and 2 chocolate bars, of which kind did he eat more?
Little kids: If he ate those 3 fig bars and 2 chocolate bars, how many bars did he eat in total? Bonus: 28 hours is just a little more than 1 day (24 hours). By how much?
Big kids: If the flight to Ireland took 28 hours, and a flight to California would have taken half the time, how fast would he have flown to California? Bonus: Wrong Way left at 5:15 am that morning and landed in Ireland 28 hours later, where the clocks are also 5 hours ahead of New York. What time did he land on local time?
Wee ones: More fig bars.
Little kids: 5 snack bars. Bonus: By 4 hours.
Big kids: 14 hours. Bonus: 2:15 pm local time the next day, since he landed at 9:15 am New York time.
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.