This Week From Bedtime Math: Right Back at You

It might surprise you to find out there&s 1 object you couldn&t throw away even if you tried. Things take a wild turn in today&s Bedtime Math challenge.
By Laura Overdeck
Aug 20, 2013



This Week From Bedtime Math: Right Back at You

Aug 20, 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 we email parents a fun, lively math problem every day to do with their kids – and every week, we'll be posting a new problem right here on Scholastic Parents!
When you throw a ball or a Frisbee a long way, you don't expect it to come back to you, unless you have a pet golden retriever who will catch it and bring it back.  But the boomerang solves this problem.  It's a C-shaped toy which, when you throw it, eventually turns around and flies back to you.  This is possible thanks to its shape and spin, although it doesn't work every time.  People have now made boomerangs with other shapes, like the crazy 4-pointed Ziparang.  The boomerang was originally used for hunting – and it saved a lot of time not having to find the thing every time it missed its target – but they also make great entertainment too, assuming they do what they're supposed to do.

Ready for some more fun? Lob these math challenges at your kids and see if they can come back at you with the correct answers.

Wee ones: If you have a 2-pointed boomerang and a 4-pointed Ziparang (as pictured), how many points do you have in total?

Little kids: The longest-distance boomerang throw took 22 seconds.  If it turned around exactly halfway through that time, how long did it fly before turning around?  Bonus: The longest time spent in the air by a boomerang, though, is 2 minutes 59 seconds. What if it had taken one more second – what amount of total air time would that have been?

Big kids: The record distance for a thrown boomerang to travel before coming back is 780 feet.  If it traveled exactly 780 feet on the return trip, too, how many feet did it travel in total?  Bonus: Meanwhile, the longest Frisbee throw is 1,333 feet – about a quarter of a mile!  How much farther from the thrower did the Frisbee travel than the boomerang?
Wee ones: 6 points.

Little kids: 11 seconds.  Bonus: 3 minutes exactly.

Big kids: 1,560 feet.  Bonus: 553 feet farther.

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