Utah looks like Wyoming took a bite out of it, but this state doesn’t cut corners. Lots of fantastic firsts come from this state, like the TV and the Frisbee. But it’s hard for us people to compete with nature in Utah. Besides the beautiful national parks, there’s the Great Salt Lake. This enormous lake is saltier than the ocean, so you can float in its water without even trying! And then there’s one of the oldest, biggest, and heaviest trees on Earth. “The Trembling Giant” or “Pando” is made up of 47,000 aspen tree trunks that share one system of roots. The whole clump of trees is 80,000 years old – and it might take that long to climb them all!
Wee ones: Utah has very straight borders, but it’s not a square or a rectangle. Count those straight lines in the little map in the picture – how many sides do you see?
Little kids: Salt Lake City is the only capital city that has 3 words in its name. How many letters are in the name? Spell it out with a grown-up! Bonus: The Great Salt Lake is so salty that it’s easy to float. If you float for 5 minutes, then swim for 2, and repeat that pattern twice after that, how many total minutes are you in the lake for?
Big kids: A company in Salt Lake City sells a LOT of rubber chickens. If they sell 20,000 rubber chickens per year, how many years will it take to sell 100,000 rubber chickens? Bonus: If a real chicken weighs 6 pounds and a rubber chicken is 1/12th of that, how many pounds do 20,000 rubber chickens weigh?
Wee ones: 6 sides.
Little kids: There are 12 letters in the name – 4 in each word! Bonus: 21 minutes. The 1st round of the pattern is 7 minutes, and you repeat it 2 more times for 3 rounds of the pattern in total, or 7 + 7 + 7.
Big kids: 5 years. Bonus: 10,000 pounds, because each rubber chicken is 1/2 pound, and 20,000 x 1/2 = 10,000.
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.