This Week From Bedtime Math: Airborne Bikes and Boats

Up there, in the sky, it&s a bird, it&s a plane, no it&s abicycle? The odd sights add up to new heights in today&s challenge from Bedtime Math!
By Laura Overdeck
Apr 08, 2014

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Apr 08, 2014

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!

You can make art out of just about anything. When we make sculptures, we usually work with common materials like clay or LEGO bricks. You can also make castles out of sand, or bridges out of pretzel sticks connected with marshmallows. Well, as we see here at the Washington Convention Center in D.C., you can make giant sculptures out of just about any object: musical instruments, furniture, even vehicles. That circle statue in the top picture is made of 30 guitars. The blue circle has kayaks -- a skinny style of boat -- while the statue with silvery circles uses a different vehicle, the bicycle. The reddish spiky ring is made of bar stools. Any time you repeat a shape over and over to make a pattern, you're making art out of math. Just make sure it's attached really, really well to the ceiling.

Wee ones: How many kayaks does that blue sculpture have?

Little kids: If you made your own triangle sculpture of 3 bicycles, how many wheels would they have?  Bonus: If at each corner you added a unicycle – a 1-wheeled gadget – now how many wheels do you have?

Big kids: Like most guitars, those 30 guitars each have 6 strings. How many strings does the statue have in total?  Bonus: Those are all 4-legged stools in that 26-stool statue. How many legs do they have altogether?

Wee ones: 5 kayaks.
Little kids: 6 wheels.  Bonus: 9 wheels, since you've added a wheel at each of 3 corners.
Big kids: 180 guitar strings.  Bonus: 104 stool legs.

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