When was the last time you had a haircut? It might have been a while, but we bet it hasn’t been 12 years. Otherwise you might have some of the longest hair on Earth! That’s the case for Nilanshi Patel, whose hair is 6 1/2 feet long – the longest of any teenager. When Nilanshi was 6 years old, she got a bad haircut and hasn’t wanted to cut it again since. More than a decade later, she finally decided to chop those locks and get a new ’do. Her mom measured (twice, we’re sure) before cutting, and now Nilanshi has a hair-raising world record.
Wee ones: How long do you think your hair is? Guess in inches or feet, then measure with the help of a grown-up!
Little kids: A basketball hoop is 10 feet high. If Nilanshi is 5 feet tall and she gets her hair to stand straight up another 6 feet into the air, is her hair taller than a basketball hoop? Bonus: The longest hair ever measured was 18 feet 6 inches long! How much longer is that than Nilanshi’s 6 feet 6 inches?
Big kids: If you shave your own hair but it grows back at an incredible 1 1/2 foot per day, how many days does it take you to have longer hair than the 6-foot 6-inch world record? Bonus: If Nilanshi’s hair started at 0 and grew to 6 feet 6 inches in 12 years, how much did her hair grow in 1 year on average?
Wee ones: Different for everyone – some people might be able to measure their hair with a ruler, others may need a yardstick – or 2!
Little kids: Yes, her hair would stand 11 feet tall! Bonus: 12 feet longer.
Big kids: 5 days – 4 days makes your hair “only” 6 feet long, so you need one more hairy day. Bonus: 6 1/2 inches. You can convert 6 feet 6 inches to 78 inches and divide that by 12, or you can divide 6 feet / 12 and 6 inches / 12 and add those quotients (1/2 foot + 1/2 inch).
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.