Toy cars are tiny, but this one took over a whole road! That’s because the 3-inch car was setting a world record for the longest toy car track. About 50 kids came together to build the bright orange track. The track was made up of 1,400 bendy plastic pieces that stretched for 2,187 feet – almost 1/2 a mile. The car zoomed down the track so quickly, people had to use a golf cart to keep up with it! Maybe toy cars aren’t so different from the real deal after all.
Wee ones:Grab a toy car or anything else that rolls. Tap it forward on the floor, then give it a really big push. Which made the car go farther, the tap or the big push?
Little kids:If you and a friend ride in a car and each of you brings along a toy car, how many more toy wheels than real ones? (Reminder: Both kinds of cars each have 4 wheels.)Bonus:If toy cars are 3 inches long, how many would you need to line up to make 1 foot? (Reminder: 1 foot has 12 inches).
Big kids:If the toy car went 17 MPH and the speed limit on the road was 35 MPH, how much faster would the toy car have to go to match the speed limit?Bonus:If the 2,187-foot long track was made up of 1,400 identical track pieces, were the track pieces more or less than 2 feet long?
The sky’s the limit1 mile has 5,280 feet and the track was 2,187 feet long. If the toy car traveled at a constant speed of 15 MPH, did it take more than 120 seconds to finish the course?
Wee ones:The big push made it roll farther!
Little kids:4 more toy wheels than real ones. The toys have 4 + 4 = 8 wheels, while the real car has 4.Bonus:4 cars, because 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 12.
Big kids:18 MPH faster to reach a speed of 35 MPH.Bonus:Less than 2 feet long, because 2-foot-long track pieces would make 2 x 1,400 = 2,800 feet of track.
The sky’s the limit:No, it took less than 120 seconds, or 2 minutes. You can figure out that the track is less than 1/2 mile long, because 1/2 of 5,280 feet is 2,640. Going 15 miles in 60 minutes means it takes 4 minutes to go 1 mile, since 15 goes into 60 4 times. Since the car is travelling less than 1/2 mile, it will travel for less than 1/2 of those 4 minutes.
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.