Today From Bedtime Math: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day

There&s a holiday to celebrate just about anything, including pop-able packing supplies! Count up some bubbles in this fun challenge from Bedtime Math.
By Laura Overdeck
Jan 27, 2015



Jan 27, 2015

What is Bedtime Math? A message from Laura: Bedtime Math is a pretty simple idea: We all know we should read to our kids at night, but what about math? My husband and I have done fun, mischief-loaded math problems with our kids at night for years, and when at age 2 our third child started hollering for his own math problem, we realized we were onto something:  In a world where so many people say, "Ewww, math!" we had created a household culture where kids don't just tolerate math, they actually seek it out. Now, every week, we'll be posting a new problem right here on Scholastic Parents!
Bubble wrap is the best.  It's that packing material that comes in clear plastic sheets covered with little round bumps full of air.  When you pinch a bubble it makes this perfect popping sound, so you can't help but pop the bubble next to it, and the next, and the next.  If you have a really big sheet with the bigger 1-inch bubbles, you can lay it on the floor and jump on it to pop lots of bubbles at once.  Even adults can't stop themselves, so it's no surprise that there's a Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, on January 26th this year. But since you can stomp on bubble wrap any time, let's show our enthusiasm by counting up the pop potential to these math problems for your kids.

Wee ones: If you have a sheet of 16 bubbles and you pop 1 bubble, how many bubbles are left to pop?  Bonus: What if you pop one more – how many left now?

Little kids: The bubbles are usually lined up in a hexagon pattern like a beehive. If you tear off a piece of bubble wrap and the 5 rows have 3 bubbles, then 4 bubbles, then 3, 4, and 3, how many bubbles do you have?  Bonus: What if you have six rows alternating 5 and 6 bubbles each? (Hint: you can add together 2 rows, then figure out how many of those sets you have.)

Big kids: The big sheets of bubble wrap can keep you very busy. If you get a 20-row sheet where half the rows have 11 bubbles each and half the rows have 10 each, how many bubbles do you have?  Bonus: It's such a bummer when someone else has already popped a bunch of the bubbles. If Snickers and Hershey, the Bedtime Math guinea pigs, each pop 1/6 of the bubbles on your sheet, how many bubbles do they leave for you?
Wee ones: 15 bubbles left.  Bonus: 14 bubbles left.
Little kids: 17 bubbles.  Bonus: 33 bubbles (11 bubbles in each 5-6 pair).
Big kids: 210 bubbles.  Bonus: Together they've popped 1/3, or 70 bubbles, so there are 140 unpopped bubbles left for you.

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