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Fun that sticks: A Bedtime Math activity

Fun that sticks: A Bedtime Math activity

We don't know about you, but one thing that gets us excited is a blank wall. Why? Because it's the perfect canvas to build some math all over! In this new activity, we'll show you how to create flowers out of Post-it® Notes to explore size, patterns and angles.

  • Flower power

    You will need: Various colours of 76x76mm Post-it® Super Sticky Notes and an empty wall.
    There are all kinds of shapes you can make with square Post-it® Notes, but one of our favorites is a 4-petal flower. You can also make neat patterns using this flower shape.

    The picture below is the start of a pattern. To keep the pattern going, what colour would you use for the petals of the next flower?

    Flower power

  • You can also play with size when making patterns. What's happening to the flowers as you move from left to right in the picture below? If you added a 5th flower, how many Post-it® Notes tall would its stem be?

    Of course, some flowers grow faster than others! If each flower is 2 squares taller than the one before it, how tall would the 4th flower be?

    You can also play with size when making patterns

  • Flowers to the 2nd Power

    Also, some flowers have more than 4 petals. To make an 8-petal flower, you make a new layer of petals in an X shape on top of the + shape. Here's how:

    Start the 2nd layer of petals by sticking a new Post-it® Note in the centre, as in the picture below. Each point of the new sticky should overlap evenly in the middle of each petal. You can also see how the top point lands neatly at the centre of the dotted circle, like North on a compass.

    Also, some flowers have more than 4 petals

  • Once your centre square is perfectly centred, add your 2nd layer of petals! Choose a new colour for your 2nd layer of petals, then add the petals so that their inside edge lines up with the centre Post-it® Note. If you want to get really crazy, you can add more layers of petals!

    Once your center square is perfectly centered, add your 2nd layer of petals

  • To make a 12-petal flower, first remove your 2nd layer of petals so that you can add another central square. Once again, you want to place the new square so that its points overlap evenly onto each petal. Then add a 3rd central square whose corners fall between the corners of the other 2 squares. Now add your 2nd and 3rd layers of petals to the flower and you have a 12-petal flower!

    To make a 16-petal flower, add a 4th centre square using the same method.

    To make a 12-petal flower, first remove your 2nd layer of petals so that you can add another central square

  • The wildflower

    Make this flower by tilting each new Post-it® Note by the same angle over and over as you stick it on top of the previous square. There are 360 degrees in a circle, which is a lot of room to play with – see how many squares you can fit into one circular flower!

    You might want to give the wildflower a skinny stem. If you cut a 3-inch Post-it® Note square in half, how wide will it be?

    The wildflower

  • Bedtime Math

    Bedtime Math is a nonprofit organisation that seeks to put the fun and discovery back into learning math. Its core product is a zany daily online math problem that parents can do with their kids, to make nightly math as common and beloved as the bedtime story. Bedtime Math has since expanded to create lively math experiences for kids at home, in libraries and in after-school programs nationwide. For more information, please visit www.bedtimemath.org.

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