This Week From Bedtime Math: Sense of Selfie

People have been taking self-portraits for over 100 years, but it&s much easier today. Find out who took the first "selfie" in today&s math challenge.
By Laura Overdeck
Jul 15, 2014



Jul 15, 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!
Have you ever had someone take your picture? Or have you ever taken a picture using a camera yourself? Well, you can do both at the same time by taking a picture of yourself. That's called a "selfie," and now that people's smartphones can also take pictures, people snap selfies all the time to send to friends. Even Snickers, one of the Bedtime Math guinea pigs, got into the act this weekend. Actually, people have always been able to stretch out their arms, hold a camera and snap photos of themselves: the first selfie was taken back in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, an early photographer. But back then, all cameras were big, clunky gadgets that took pictures slowwwwwly…you had to stand still for a long time while the camera collected enough light to make the picture. Maybe that's why it took until 2002 for the word "selfie" to be invented. Now it's so easy that even our furry friends like Snickers can make sure they get on camera.

See if your kids can picture the solutions to these selfie-inspired math challenges:

Wee ones: If you and a friend each take a selfie, how many photos have you taken?

Little kids: If you snap 6 pictures and half of them are of yourself, how many selfies have you taken?  Bonus: If it takes 10 seconds to pose perfectly for each photo, how many seconds did those selfies take?

Big kids: If you and 2 friends take selfies of yourselves, with either 1, 2 or 3 people in each shot, how many combinations for selfies can you take?  Bonus: How many years ago was that first selfie in 1839?
Wee ones: 2 photos.
Little kids: 3 selfies.  Bonus: 30 seconds.
Big kids: 7 combinations – 3 with just 1 person in each, 3 with a different pair in each, and 1 with all of you.  Bonus: 175 years ago!

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