The post X-Ray Vision Carrots appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>In a world full of salty, fatty snacks, you might not always feel like eating your veggies. But maybe it just depends what we call them. Some scientists gave carrots to 2 groups of kids — but told one group that they were getting “X-Ray Vision Carrots.” They told the other group they were eating plain old carrots. Well, the kids who thought they had gotten special x-ray vision carrots ate almost twice as many! The good news is, all carrots do help you see better in the dark, no matter what we call them. Carrots have beta-carotene, which helps your body make vitamin A, and vitamin A helps your eyes. But we can’t promise that our Pokemon Power Peas will help you play the game.

*Wee ones:* If you gobble up 6 Pokemon Peas, what numbers do you say to count them?

*Little kids:* If you eat the 1^{st} row of kernels on an ear of Crazy-Cool Corn, then the 3^{rd} row, then the 5^{th} row…what row do you eat next? *Bonus:* Once you eat the 9^{th} row, how many rows of cool kernels have you eaten?

*Big kids:* If you can slice an X-ray Vision Carrot into 8 little circles, how many slices can you get from 3 carrots? *Bonus:* If you and your friend *each* need 15 slices to get X-ray vision, will 4 carrots be enough?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

*Little kids:* The 7^{th} row. *Bonus:* 5 rows.

*Big kids:* 24 slices. *Bonus:* Yes, because they’ll give you 32 slices, which is more than the 30 you need.

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]]>The post Breaking a World Record – With All Your Friends appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>It must be exciting to hold a world record – for running the fastest, or swimming the farthest, or changing clothes while jumping on a trampoline (yes, that’s one of them). So it makes sense that there’s a whole city that tries to break a world record every year! In the Spanish city of Valladolid, the townspeople get together to break the “most people doing something”-type records. One year they all threw hats. Another year they all bounced beach balls. What’s strange is that more than 12,000 people showed up to lick lollipops, but almost three times as many came to wave flags. You’d think free candy would draw a bigger crowd! But as the Valladolidians have shown, any record-breaking activity can be a blast.

*Wee ones:* Jump up off the ground. Now try to jump higher. Have a grown-up hold out a hand to mark how high you got, and see if you can break your own record!

*Little kids:* If you and 8 friends throw hats, how many of you are trying to break the record? *Bonus:* The Valladolidians threw hats 5 years ago. Were you alive then, and if so, how old were you?

*Big kids:* If you lick a lollipop, then wave a flag, then bounce a beach ball, then lick a lollipop to start the pattern again…what’s the 18th thing you do? Try to figure it out without counting one by one! *Bonus:* 9,995 people threw hats for that record. If 5 more people had joined them, how many people would they have had?

*The sky’s the limit:* Valladolid has about 300,000 people. Which would be a bigger crowd: 1/2 of them breaking a record, or 1/3 of them breaking a record and another 1/5 of them watching?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* See how high you can jump!

*Little kids:* 9 people. *Bonus:* Different for everyone…if you are 5 or older, subtract 5 from your age.

*Big kids:* Bounce a beach ball, since that’s what you do every multiple of 3. *Bonus:* 10,000 people.

*The sky’s the limit:* The 1/3 and 1/5 together are bigger. 1/2 the people would be just 150,000, while 1/3 would be 100,000 and 1/5 would be 60,000, making 160,000. This is always true for those fractions: 1/2 is the same as 15/30, while 1/3 is 10/30 and 1/5 is 6/30. So 1/3 + 1/5 is 1/30^{th} more than 1/2.

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]]>The post The Slimy Truth about Squid appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Okay, let’s just say it: the squid is not the cutest animal out there. It’s slimy instead of fuzzy, and you can hardly tell where its face is. But the squid shows us that you don’t have to be good-looking to be smart. It’s one of the smartest animals in the ocean. Sea divers say that when you stare into a squid’s eyes, it will stare right back at you, which must feel really weird. And scientists have found that the cells in a squid’s brain work a lot like our brains. It’s a busy brain, after all, since the squid has to track all those legs. Just to set the numbers straight, a squid has 8 “arms” and 2 much longer “tentacles” – which makes for some crazy math.

*Wee ones:* How many arms do the people in your room have? Do they have as many as a squid?

*Little kids:* If you’ve counted 4 of a squid’s 8 arms, what are the next 3 numbers you say? *Bonus: *An octopus really has only 6 arms! (The other two are tentacles.) How many arms do an octopus and squid have together?

*Big kids:* Squid squirt out ink to fight off enemies. If you could make 10 magic markers from each squirt of ink, can you make 52 markers from 6 squirts? *Bonus:* If a bunch of squid at the aquarium have 48 arms in total, how many squid live there?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* Different for everyone…count yours, a grown-up’s, maybe the arms on a doll!

*Little kids:* 5, 6, 7. *Bonus:* 14 arms, since it’s 6 + 8.

*Big kids:* Yes, because the 6 squirts can make 60 markers. *Bonus:* 6 squid (again, each has only 8 “arms”).

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]]>The post Goodnight, Mario Brothers! appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>This looks like the inside of a video game, doesn’t it? Can you believe that this is someone’s bedroom? A 13-year-old girl named AJ loves Super Mario so much, her dad painted her whole room to look like the game! The walls look like the screens you see when you play. One wall shows Mario and other characters; another wall has bricks for them to climb. Even the funny clouds are made of teeny white and blue squares. The project started off small, but grew as AJ and her dad thought of more and more pictures to add. It’s a good thing nothing on the wall is moving, or AJ would never fall asleep.

*Wee ones:* What shape are the bricks on the wall? How many sides does each one have?

*Little kids:* If they used stickers for Mario and Bowser, then painted 3 other characters, how many characters have they made so far? *Bonus:* If it took 4 hours to paint a character starting at 2:00 pm, at what time did they finish?

*Big kids:* A grown-up friend painted the sky to help out. If the sky used 5 cans of blue paint per wall, how many cans did they need for all 4 walls? *Bonus:* If that stack of bricks has 1 in the first row, 2 in the second, and so on down to 8 at the bottom, how many bricks are there? (See if you can get it without counting one by one!)

*The (blue) sky’s the limit:* What if the stack of bricks had 10 rows, with 10 in the bottom row? How many bricks would there be? See if you can spot the shortcut for the total number in these stacks…(Hint if needed: How many are in the top row and bottom row together? Now how about the second row and second-to-last row together? and so on…)

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* Squares, with 4 sides each.

*Little kids:* 5 characters. *Bonus:* At 6:00 pm.

*Big kids:* 20 cans. *Bonus:* 36 bricks.

*The sky’s the limit:* 55 bricks. These are the “triangle numbers,” where each row has 1 more than the one above it. The total number will be the number in the bottom row, times the number 1 bigger than that, then cut in half. So for 8 in the bottom row, it was 8 x 9 then cut in half, which is 72/2 or 36. For 10, it’s 10 x 11 cut in half, which is 55. That’s because the top and bottom row (10+1) make 11, and the second and second-to-last (9+2) also add to 11…you end up adding 5 sets of 11.

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]]>The post Talk Like a Pirate! appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>So today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. These bad guys dressed in crazy clothes have been around hundreds of years, capturing ships and stealing their money. “Sea Dog” Francis Drake was actually paid by the Queen of England to attack Spain’s ships. But let’s give them credit: pirates had to be good at math. Back in the 1600s sailors didn’t have phones or even good maps. So they used the sun to figure out where they were. They could tell how far north they were by the height of the sun at noon. But east/west was much harder: the sun rises everywhere at* some* time, so how did you know how far west you’d sailed? Finally they realized that if you measured how* long* you’d sailed using a clock, you could figure it out. And that was a good reason to say “Aarrghhh!”

*Wee ones:* Look at a clock that has hands (not just numbers). Point to the short hand. Now point to the long hand.

*Little kids:* If 4 pirates on a ship yell “Avast!” and 3 other pirates yell “Aarrghhh!”, how many pirates are talking like pirates? *Bonus:* Who has more treasure together: the 4 pirates who each have 2 gold coin, or the 3 pirates who each have 3 gold coins?

*Big kids:* If each of 30 pirates trains his parrot to talk, and 1/2 of them get their parrot to say “Ahoy!”, how many parrots learn to say “Ahoy!”? *Bonus:* If instead, 16 of the parrots learn to say “Landlubbers!” and 18 parrots learn “Shiver me timbers!” at least how many parrots must have learned both?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* Find the “hour” hand (the short one), then the “minute” hand (the long one).

*Little kids:* 7 pirates. *Bonus:* The 3 pirates with 3 coins apiece, since they have 9 vs. 8.

*Big kids:* 15 parrots. *Bonus:* 4 parrots, since 16 and 18 together would be 34.

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]]>The post Lego You Can Eat appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Those big Lego bricks look a little funny, don’t they? Well, it’s because they’re actually a giant cake. The bumps on top are upside-down cupcakes, hidden under icing! In the bottom right corner you can see the teeny real Lego that the cake copied. When we build bigger versions of objects, we have to go bigger in every direction. So if that cake is 10 times as wide as the Lego, it also needs to be 10 times as tall,* **and *10 times as deep back to front. So that cake can hold 10 times 10 times 10 bricks, or 1,000 of them! Toy dolls, cars and trucks do the opposite: they’re* **smaller *versions of the real thing. But it’s even better if you can then eat what you made.

*Wee ones:* Which is smaller, the blue piece of cake or the yellow piece?

*Little kids:* How many Lego “bricks” do you see, including the toy bricks and the cake ones? *Bonus:* If you line up 12 Lego bricks along the bottom edge of the cake, what number brick do you put down next?

*Big kids:* If the yellow Lego cake were twice as wide, twice as deep and twice as tall as the blue cake, how many small blue Lego cakes would it take to fill the big one? (Don’t worry about the bumps, just the square parts.) *Bonus:* If the blue square cake can feed 2 people, and each bump feeds 1 more person, how many people can the whole yellow and blue cake feed? (Hint if needed: If the blue cake feeds 2, how many does the square part of the yellow cake feed?)

*The sky’s the limit:* What if the cake is 5 Lego bricks wide, 5 deep and 5 tall? How many Lego bricks would it take to fill it?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* The blue cake is smaller.

*Little kids:* 4 bricks (2 big, 2 tiny). *Bonus:* 13.

*Big kids:* 8 blue cakes. *Bonus:* 22 people. The blue square feeds 2, the yellow square feeds 8 times as many (16), and then the 4 bumps feed 4 more.

*The sky’s the limit:* 125 pieces.

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]]>The post Wrong Kind of Balloon Ride appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>For some people, flying 35,000 feet above the ocean on a plane isn’t exciting enough. They have to strap themselves to a bunch of balloons and float across. That’s exactly what Jonathan Trappe set out to do a couple of years ago, when he climbed into a basket tied to 370 helium balloons and took off. He started in Maine and hoped to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Had he succeeded, he would have been the first person ever to do it with helium balloons. Well, his trip ended just 12 hours later, when his balloon started having problems and he had to land in Newfoundland (part of Canada). To this day no one has made it across the ocean this way. So if you can track down hundreds of party balloons, you can try to be first!

*Wee ones:* Jonathan’s balloon went up, then down. Look straight up — what do you see? Now look down — what do you see this time?

*Little kids:* Which color balloon shows up the most, and how many of them can you see at least partly? *Bonus:* If that was out of 20 balloons total, would there be more yellow balloons or non-yellow balloons?

*Big kids:* Trappe was 39 years old when he tried this 5 years ago. If he tries again 10 years from now, how old will he be? *Bonus:* If each of those 370 balloons can hold up 1 pound, and Trappe weighed 180 pounds, how many pounds could his basket, snacks, etc. weigh all together?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* Looking up, you might see the ceiling, or the sky! Looking down, you might see carpet, floor, dirt or grass — and your feet.

*Little kids:* 7 yellow balloons: 3 in the upper left, 1 in the middle, and 3 on the right, by our count. *Bonus:* There will be more non-yellow balloons, since half would be 10.

*Big kids:* 54 years old, since he’s now 44. *Bonus:* 190 pounds.

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]]>The post The Tortoise That (Almost) Beats the Hare appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>When you think of a speedy animal, we bet you don’t think of turtles or tortoises. After all, the tortoise was the slow guy in that story with the hare. But some tortoise out there has to be the fastest one. Last fall, Bertie broke the world record for a tortoise “running” on a track. He crawled almost 18 feet in less than 20 seconds. That’s about 2/3 of a mile per hour…just to compare, we people *walk* about 3 miles an hour. He was more than twice as fast as the previous record, set in 1977 by a tortoise named Charlie. That said, no matter how you do the math, Bertie can’t beat a speedy rabbit — unless that rabbit really screws up.

*Wee ones:* Walk across your room. Now run back across your room. Which way were you faster?

*Little kids:* Bertie “runs” about 1 foot each second. How many feet does he run in 5 seconds? *Bonus:* Who’s faster, a tortoise at 90 feet per second or a rabbit at 900 feet per second?

*Big kids:* If Bertie could run 18 feet in 20 seconds, how far could he run in 40 seconds at the same speed? *Bonus:* Bertie takes 1 hour to run 2/3 of a mile. How fast can a rabbit running 60 miles an hour run it? (Hint: How far does that rabbit run in 1 minute?)

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* You were faster when you ran!

*Little kids:* 5 feet. *Bonus:* The rabbit is faster.

*Big kids:* 36 feet, since he has twice as much time. *Bonus:* In 2/3 of a minute, or 40 seconds!

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]]>The post How Do Doggie Treats Taste? appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Dogs love their doggie treats. That’s why we use them to teach dogs new tricks. But did you ever wonder what’s in a doggie treat, or whether it tastes good? Dog biscuits are made of flour, egg and milk, which sounds yummy…but then they’re flavored to taste like meat or fish, which doesn’t sound so yummy*. Someone* must think they taste good, though, because 10 bakers at a pet-food company in Missouri decided to bake the biggest doggie treat ever. The previous record, baked in England, had weighed a jaw-dropping 231 pounds. But these new people baked a biscuit that weighed 617 pounds. Hopefully someone gave them a nice big treat for that.

*Wee ones:* If you mix corn flour, milk, egg, ground chicken, and fish juice to make doggie biscuits, how many foods did you use?

*Little kids:* If your dog gets 2 treats every day for doing tricks, how many treats does she get in in a stretch of 5 days? Try to count up by 2s! *Bonus:* If you give your dog 1 treat for every trick, but 3 treats instead for every 3^{rd} trick (starting on the 3^{rd}), how many treats does she get for 6 tricks?

*Big kids:* If you and your dog start eating doggie treats on a Tuesday, and he eats 4 per day while you eat 2 per day, on what day do you guys finish a 20-treat box? *Bonus:* How many more treats than you will your dog eat in a 31-day month?

*The sky’s the limit:* If you’re baking 36 treats and all the neighborhood dogs smell them and come running, how many dogs could show up such that you could split the treats equally among them? (You can count just the visiting dogs, not your own dog…but at least 2 dogs show up.)

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* 5 foods.

*Little kids:* 10 treats. *Bonus:* 10 treats again.

*Big kids:* On Friday, since by end of Thursday you’ve eaten 18 in total. *Bonus:* 62 more, since the dog eats 2 extra each day.

*The sky’s the limit:* You could have: 2 dogs, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 18, or 36 dogs and divide up the treats equally.

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]]>The post Triple-Trick Dominoes appeared first on Bedtime Math.

]]>Domino chains are so simple but so cool. You stand them up on end, then knock down just the first domino. It knocks over the next one, which knocks down the next, until the ripple runs right through. But one little row is nothing compared to this mindblowing video of a “triple spiral” domino chain! Domino pro Lily Hevesh builds giant domino designs, full of stacked layers, staircases and lot of colors. In this one, one lower level spirals inward, then sets off another lower level going outward. Finally it takes down the skinny 3-story walls. We love how the tippy-top dominoes start it off without breaking anything under them. It took Lily 25 hours and about 15,000 dominoes to build this. It’s hard work: one wrong move, and they all fall!

*Wee ones:* What shape is a domino?

*Little kids:* The spiral going in uses red, orange and yellow dominoes, and the one coming out uses light blue, medium blue and dark blue. Which spiral uses more colors? *Bonus:* Those spirals have 9 rows of dominoes. Which row is the exact middle one?

*Big kids:* If Lily worked on this 8 hours a day starting on a Tuesday, could she have finished in time to post on Saturday? *Bonus:* If 1/3 of the 15,000 dominoes are in the cool triple walls, how many dominoes is that?

__Answers:__

*Wee ones:* A rectangle (or in grown-up 3D lingo, a “rectangular prism”).

*Little kids:* They use the same number! 3 colors each. *Bonus:* The 5^{th} row.

*Big kids:* Yes: she would have just one last hour on Friday. *Bonus:* 5,000 dominoes.

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