Today From Bedtime Math: The Weight of Snow (in Chocolate)

Why measure snow in pounds or kilograms, when you could count in Hershey&s Kisses instead?
By Laura Overdeck
Feb 10, 2015



Feb 10, 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 snow is falling where you live, you may be out there building a snowman or chucking snowballs at your friends — and you may notice how the really wet, sticky snow you can pack into shapes is also really heavy. How can those teeny specks falling from the sky weigh so much? Sue Heavenrich at Archimedes Notebook wondered about this, too. She figured out that a snowflake can weigh as much as 1/50th of a gram, and that 235 flakes weigh the same as a Hershey's chocolate kiss. If you imagine 95 Hershey's Kisses, which weigh about 1 pound, they weigh the same as more than 22,000 snowflakes. Other people have weighed snow by the inch: if you shovel 10-inch-deep snow off a 50-foot stretch of sidewalk, you're moving about 1,300 pounds of snow! Hopefully you can build a snowman with less than that.

Now see if your kids can come up with the answers to these math challenges:

Wee ones: Which weighs more, a snowflake or 1 Hershey's kiss?

Little kids: If you love to eat snow, and you take a bite of snowball, then eat a Hershey's Kiss, and keep alternating, what do you eat on your 8th bite?  Bonus: If you count out 95 Hershey's Kisses, what number do you say before 95?

Big kids: A 5×5-foot square of sidewalk with 1 inch of snow weighs about 25 pounds. How many sidewalk squares would you have to shovel to match your weight in snow?  Bonus: If you eat 2 Hershey's kisses, how many snowflakes would you have eaten to match that weight?
Wee ones: A Hershey's Kiss.
Little kids: A Hershey's Kiss, as on all even-numbered bites.  Bonus: 94.
Big kids: Different for everyone…see how many 25s add up to your weight in pounds (or more).  Bonus: 470 snowflakes.

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