This Week From Bedtime Math: The Tape That Goes Quack Quack

Water might roll off a duck&s back, but tape sure doesn&t. Things get a little sticky in today&s challenge from Bedtime Math!
By Laura Overdeck
Feb 18, 2014



Feb 18, 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!


So what is that stuff called duck tape? Or is it duct tape? It’s very thick, strong, shiny tape, and was first called duck tape at its invention in 1942, because it’s waterproof like a duck’s feathers. Soon the Army was using it for all kinds of fix-it tasks on cars, ', guns, and even airplanes, because it’s so strong and hard to tear. But during the 1950s housing boom in the US, people started using it to connect air conditioning ducts (the small metal tunnels that carry hot or cold air through a building). So people started calling it duct tape even though the company that makes it is still called Duck. This all sounds like work, but lately duct tape has gone from work to play: kids have turned duct tape into art, folding it on itself to make flowers, wallets, shoes, and even whole dresses. Duck now makes the tape in bright colors and patterns, so you can stick together just about anything you want.


Try these tape-inspired math challenges with your kids:


Wee ones: How many rolls of duct tape do you see in the picture? (If you can’t see the photo, the rolls are silver, purple, and a purple/turquoise leopard print.)


Little kids: If you need 2 inches of tape to make a pencil-head flower petal, how many inches do you need to make 6 petals?  Bonus: If instead you make a cellphone case that needs 14 inches total, how many more inches of tape do you need to scrounge up?


Big kids: If duct tape is 2 inches wide, and you need 10 10-inch-long strips to make a tote bag, how many square inches of tape do you need?  Bonus: Of course, you don’t want the inside of that bag to stick to you! If you need another 3/4 of that to line the inside, now what’s your total tape usage?





Wee ones: 3 rolls.

Little kids: 12 inches.  Bonus: 2 inches more.

Big kids: 200 square inches.  Bonus: 350 square inches total, since you need another 150 square inches.

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