This Week From Bedtime Math: A-Mazing

The shortest route from one place to another is a straight line but that&s no fun! Take some detours in today&s challenge from Bedtime Math!
By Laura Overdeck
Dec 24, 2013



Dec 24, 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!

Mazes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. After all, a maze is just a set of walls running in different directions with gaps to pass through, all set up so it's hard to find a path from beginning to end. Maybe you've tried solving one on paper, or maybe you've seen small animals wind their way through one, like our Bedtime Math guinea pigs here in this cardboard maze we made for them. But best of all is when you get to wander through a big maze yourself. In the fall, some farms that are open to visitors set up hay mazes out of blocks of tightly bundled straw, or corn mazes where you wander through carved-out paths in a corn field. And you might be able to make your own maze out of snow. But no matter what kind of maze it is, it definitely takes longer than walking a straight line.

Now see if your kids can find their way to the answers with these maze-inspired math challenges:

Wee ones: How many guinea pigs can you count in the cardboard maze here?

Little kids: If it normally takes the guinea pigs 2 minutes to waddle across a family room, but wandering 100 feet through a cardboard maze takes them 7 minutes longer, how long do they take to walk the maze?  Bonus: If they do it 1 minute faster the second time because you put carrots at the finish line, now how long do they take?

Big kids: If a corn maze is just 42 feet wide, but you walk twice that distance in total trying to find your way through, how far do you walk?  Bonus: If you normally take 5 minutes to do the maze, but you hurry up and do it in 1/3 that time when you hear there's a prize at the finish line, how long do you take to do it now? (Hint: A minute has 60 seconds…you'll need that info!)

Wee ones: 2 guinea pigs.
Little kids: 9 minutes.  Bonus: 8 minutes.
Big kids: 84 feet.  Bonus: 100 seconds (or 1 minute 40 seconds), since 5 minutes equals 300 seconds.

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