This Week From Bedtime Math: Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed

Plant or animal why not both? Branch out into something beautiful -- and lively -- in today&s Bedtime Math challenge!
By Laura Overdeck
Dec 17, 2013



Dec 17, 2013


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!


This frog looks a little bigger than most, and a little leafier, too. That's because he's actually a bush that's been trimmed to look like a frog, with other types of plants growing right up the branches to make his mouth and belly. "Topiary" is the art of trimming bushes, trees, and other plants to make specific shapes, which can be everything from maze walls to animals to grand pianos. This "frog" lives at the Montreal Botanical Garden. The thing is, when you're made of a continuously growing bush, you need to get a lot of haircuts to stay nice and neat-looking – far more than a regular frog would need.


Now that we've sharpened your knowledge of topiary, get ready to teach your kids some math with these challenges:


Wee ones: This frog is 1 of 3 frogs sitting at the corners of that little fountain pool. How many other frogs hang out at the pool with him?


Little kids: If the frog needs a quick trimming every other day and he got a haircut Sunday and Tuesday, when's his next haircut?  Bonus: If it takes 6 minutes to trim his back, 5 minutes to clean up his tummy and 2 minutes to trim his toes, how long does it take to trim the frog?


Big kids: If a regular pet frog is 5 inches tall and this frog is 7 times as tall, how tall is the topiary frog?  Bonus: If your pet frog can jump 16 inches higher than that, how high can your live frog jump?



Wee ones: 2 more frogs.

Little kids: Thursday.  Bonus: 13 minutes.

Big kids: 35 inches tall.  Bonus: 51 inches.

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