Real-Life Superhero Cars

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Real-Life Superhero Cars

April 18, 2015

It’s a big job to build a car, since cars these days have about 30,000 parts. Never mind that some of those parts weigh hundreds of pounds! But when robots help out, we humans have a much easier time. In this awesome video, the electric car company Tesla shows their giant factory robots, which are all named after X-Men characters: Beast, Professor Xavier, and so on. Long-ago car maker Henry Ford figured out that if each worker did the same job over and over — one person snaps on the left front door, another person does the right front door, and so on — then cars could be built faster. These superhero robots do the same thing, except they’re also superhero strong. They can hold up the whole frame of the car while its robot friends bolt more parts onto it. As a result, Tesla’s factory can crank out 400 cars in a week. We bet the robots wish they could go out for a drive in one.

Wee ones: If you get to work with the robots Iceman, Storm, and Beast, how many X-Men robots do you work with?

Little kids: If Iceman snaps on 2 windows, Beast adds 4 doors and Storm snaps on the front windshield, how many parts did they add?  Bonus: If Professor Xavier and Wolverine each add 3 parts, who added more, the first superhero group or the second group?

Big kids: If Iceman adds 900 pounds of parts to the car and a door weighs 200 pounds, what’s the biggest number of doors he could have added?  Bonus: If Tesla makes 400 cars every week, how many can they make this spring (13 weeks)?

 

 

 

Answers:
Wee ones: 3 robots.

Little kids: 7 parts.  Bonus: The first group (7 is more than 6).

Big kids: Up to 4 doors, which would be 800 pounds (5 doors would go over, as they’d weigh 1000).  Bonus: 5,200 cars!

And thank you Callie, Devin and their dad Ajay for sending this awesome video!

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking while still in diapers, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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