It’s more than 100 years old, but New Mexico is still newer than (New) Hampshire, Jersey, and York. And the people of New Mexico have some fresh ideas, too – like the World Shovel Race Championships! That’s just what it sounds like: people sit on snow shovels and slide super fast down a mountain. Last February was the 40th annual race. The winner hit a top speed of 64 miles per hour, which is fast enough to get a speeding ticket on some highways. For those who enjoy floating up rather than sliding down, there’s the International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque every October. This festival has hundreds of hot air balloons that look like castles, sheep, and all sorts of wild shapes. Whatever your speed, “The Land of Enchantment” has something for everyone.
Wee ones: Look at New Mexico’s flag in the lower left corner of the picture. What shape is the flag’s center?
Little kids: New Mexico’s state flag is the only state flag that doesn’t have blue or white on it. How many of the 50 state flags do have blue or white? Bonus: There were 185 participants in last year’s shovel race, but of those, 4 didn’t finish the course. How many racers made it to the finish line?
Big kids: If you went exactly 1/2 as fast as the winning 64 mph shovel racer, how fast would you go? Bonus: What if you went 1/4 of the winning speed?
The sky’s the limit: If a shovel racer went in a straight line at a constant speed of 60 mph and finished the racecourse in 15 seconds, how long is the racecourse?
Wee ones: A circle.
Little kids: 49 state flags have blue or white. Bonus: 181, because 185 – 4 = 181.
Big kids: 32 MPH. Bonus: 16 MPH.
The sky’s the limit: The racecourse is 1/4 mile long. 60 mph means that you go 1 mile per minute, since there are 60 minutes in 1 hour. 15 seconds is 1/4 of 60 seconds, so you travel 1/4 of a mile.
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.