Today From Bedtime Math: Put Your Best LEGO Forward

Did you know you can pitch an idea to LEGO? To get your kit made, you&ll need to crunch the numbers in this fun challenge from Bedtime Math!
By Laura Overdeck
Jan 13, 2015



Jan 13, 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!

If you love LEGO, you've probably built some of their sets by following their instructions – but maybe you've also used the pieces to invent your own crazy cars, castles, and moving animals. Someone else might want to build your idea, too. So LEGO has a webpage where anyone like you can share what new sets they think LEGO should sell. You build a new cool invention, take a picture, write down what pieces you needed, and then send it to them. Then you try to get people to vote for your idea. If you get 10,000 votes or more, the LEGO folks will look at your idea and might choose it as a new LEGO set! If you think you've thought up the best pink and silver spaceship, checkerboard ice fort, or 2-foot-tall giraffe, here's your chance to share that idea – and maybe see it come to life.

But, before you do that, see if you and your kids can come up with the answers to these LEGO Brick-inspired math problems:

Wee ones: If you've thought up a new spaceship, ice fort, stripey giraffe and robotic bird, how many new LEGO set ideas do you have?

Little kids: If your crazy new LEGO giraffe uses 6 colors, but LEGO thinks it needs some orange and blue, how many colors does it use now, if orange and blue weren't already in? Bonus: If the giraffe's neck uses 2 blocks of each color, how many blocks does it use?

Big kids: If your new ice fort is a checkerboard of 60 white blocks and the same number of blue blocks, how many blocks does it use?  Bonus: If LEGO wants the set to have exactly 180 blocks, and you make all those new blocks white, how many times as much white as blue does it have now?

The sky's the limit: If your spaceship needs triangle wing pieces, twice as many engine pieces as wing pieces, and 52 regular blocks, and they want the whole set to have 76 pieces, how many wings and engines will it have?
Wee ones: 4 ideas for sets.
Little kids: 8 colors.  Bonus: 16 blocks.
Big kids: 120 blocks.  Bonus: Twice as much white as blue, since it now has 120 whites and 60 blues.
The sky's the limit: The wings and engines will together have 24 pieces. So there will be 8 wing pieces and 16 engine pieces. (Using algebra: if the e engine pieces are twice the w wing pieces, then:
w +2w = 24
3w = 24
w = 8, and the engines are 2w = 16.)

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