We all wonder at one time or another what it would be like to be president of a country. And today’s a good day to think about it, as the U.S. celebrate President’s Day. The holiday lands on the third Monday of February each year, since it’s close to the birthdays of two famous American presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Each of them used to have his own birthday celebrated separately…how would they feel if they knew we’d shoved the two of them together? And how about all those other guys whose birthdays were never holidays at all? It seems like a good time to remind ourselves how many presidents the U.S. has had in the first place.
Wee ones: James Madison was the 4th president of the U.S. What number president was next?
Little kids: George Washington served for two 4-year terms. How many years was he president? Bonus: Joe Biden is the 46th president of the U.S. If George Washington was the 1st president, how many presidents have served between him and President Biden?
Big kids: George Washington kicked off the whole thing when he became president in 1789. For how many years have we had presidents? Bonus: President Biden will finish his term in 2025. If we had had only 4-year presidents all the way through, how many presidents could we have had from 1789 to 2025?
Wee ones: The 5th president (James Monroe).
Little kids: 8 years. Bonus: 44 presidents. There have been 46 in total, then we take away both Washington and Biden from the ends.
Big kids: 233 years. Bonus: It will have been 236 years, which would have spanned 59 4-year terms.
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.