It’s Bedtime–Time for Math

bedtimemathIt’s bedtime. Just envision yourself snuggling with children you love and a good book. Can’t you picture them begging, “Please, please, just one more…..math problem!”

I will admit, I’ve never thought about bedtime math. But then I ran across the Bedtime Math book, which led me to the Bedtime Math website—and now I’m a Bedtime Math convert. According to their website, Bedtime Math’s mission is simple–to make nightly math as common and beloved as the bedtime story. They do this through math problems that are interesting, intriguing and fun. One of the key features of the problems is that they offer varied questions at different levels, so children with different levels of math skills can “play” together. You can get daily problems from the website, the Bedtime Math Facebook page, or even the Bedtime Math app!   Here’s the problem for January 15 to give you the flavor of the problems.


It begins with a “selfie” taken by an eagle who apparently stole a camera. (If you’d like to see the video taken by the eagle, see YouTube.) Here are the three levels of Bedtime Math.

Wee ones: If the eagle took the camera for 1 minute and the hiker had used it for 1 hour, who used it for longer?

Little kids: The eagle films with the camera for 1 minute and 1 second. Since a minute has 60 seconds, how many seconds is that in total?  Bonus: The eagle picks up the camera at 3 seconds, then sets it down at 24 seconds into the video. How long did the eagle fly with it?

Big kids: If the eagle starts the trip at 500 feet up the mountain and lands 750 feet up the mountain, how many feet higher did the camera travel?  Bonus: We see the eagle’s wings about twice per second when the bird and camera start flying. How many wing flaps is that in 1 minute? (Reminder: A minute has 60 seconds.)

Bedtime Math also partners with libraries to sponsor Bedtime Math pajama parties, which look like glorious fun.

Now the truth is, I think the notion of Bedtime Math is intriguing in and of itself. But it also is an invitation to create your own Bedtime Math problems. Think about challenging students to create a problem around a topic they find intriguing—and then create two more at different levels. It’s a great opportunity for originality, flexible thinking, and math. For older students, think about a “Super Challenge” level. Have fun with it!


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