It might be the smallest state, but it has the biggest name: “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” Whoa! But you can just call it Rhode Island. The state stretches only 48 miles from north to south, and 34 miles from west to east – you could fit 430 Rhode Islands inside Alaska. But this little state has more than 384 miles of shoreline! And our fan Vivian S. and her friends just shared that Rhode Island also has the world’s largest insect: the Big Blue Bug, also named Nibbles. At 58 feet long and 9 feet tall, it is a termite 928 times as big as a real one. It sits on the roof of Big Blue Bug Solutions (a company that gets rid of termites for you). Just one more reason people move to Rhode Island – it has become our second-most crowded state!
Wee ones: How many words are in the name “The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”? Count with a grown-up as you say them!
Little kids: If you visit 5 Rhode Island beaches, what numbers do you say to count them down starting from 5? Bonus: If Rhode Island is 48 miles from north to south, and 34 miles from west to east, in which direction is it bigger? Is it “taller” (north to south) or “wider” (east to west) on the map?
Big kids: Nibbles the Big Blue Bug is 58 feet long. If you and your friends are each 4 feet tall, how many of you have to lie end to end to stretch longer than Nibbles? Bonus: Since 2007, Rhode Island has made license plates with 6 numbers. What is the greatest possible sum of a 6-digit license plate there?
Wee ones: 8 words!
Little kids: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Bonus: It’s taller, because 48 is more than 34.
Big kids: 15 of you in total. 14 of you stretch only 14 x 4 = 56 feet, so you need another friend to bring you to 60 feet. Bonus: 54, because 9 is the biggest digit, and 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 6 x 9 = 54.
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.