This Week From Bedtime Math: Paint the Tower Red

Have you ever wished you could paint a famous building a different color? Find out how long it takes to paint the Eiffel Tower in today&s math challenge.
By Laura Overdeck
Jun 17, 2014



Jun 17, 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!
The Eiffel Tower, that tall, spiky building in Paris, is one of the world's most famous monuments. But the tower, designed by Gustave Eiffel, hasn't always looked the way it does now. Every 7 years, the 984-foot tower has to be repainted -- not just to make it look beautiful and cool, but also to keep its metal beams from rusting. To make that happen, 25 painters haul out almost 60 tons of paint and miles and miles of safety ropes, and they balance at scary heights to paint the whole tower. Over the years they've mixed things up by changing the color, too. The tower actually started out bright red, then in 1899 painters painted the Tower in 5 fat stripes across it, from yellow-orange at the bottom to light yellow at the top. After many years of boring brown, the Tower switched in 2009 to "bronze"…we'll see if it keeps that color at its next painting.

Now see if your kids can come up with the right answers to these Tower-inspired math problems:
Wee ones: The Tower is all one shade of bronze now, but it used to be 3 stripes of brown. How many more paint colors did they need to do that?

Little kids: If the Tower has been red, 4 shades of brown, and 5 shades of yellow, how many different paint colors have been used?  Bonus: If the last time they started painting the Tower was in 2009, when are they due to paint it again if they paint every 7 years?

Big kids: It takes 18 months to paint the Tower. If a round of painting starts in April, in what calendar month do they finish?  Bonus: Those 25 brave painters use 1,500 paint brushes for the project. How many paint brushes does each painter get?

Wee ones: 2 more colors.
Little kids: 10 colors.  Bonus: In 2016.
Big kids: In October.  Bonus: 60 brushes per painter.

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