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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 the one thing that gets us excited is a blank wall. Why? Because it's the perfect canvas for creating art and doing maths! In this fun activity, we'll show you how to explore sizes, patterns and angles by creating flowers out of Post-it® Notes.

  • Flower power

    You'll need: Post-it® Super Sticky Notes 76mm x 76mm in various colours, and an empty wall.
    You can make all kinds of shapes with square Post-it® Notes. One of our favourites is a four-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 fifth flower, how many Post-it® Notes tall would the stem be?

    Plus, some flowers grow faster than others! If each flower is two squares taller than the one before it, how tall would the fourth flower be?

    You can also play with size when making patterns

  • Flowers to the 2nd Power

    Some flowers have more than four petals. To make an eight-petal flower, you need to make a new layer of petals in an X shape on top of the plus-symbol shape. Here's how:

    Start the second layer of petals by sticking a new Post-it® Note in the centre, as in the picture below. Each point of the new Post-it® Note should overlap evenly in the middle of each petal. 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 positioned, add your second layer of petals! Choose a new colour for your new layer, and add the petals so that their inside edges line up with the centre Post-it® Note. If you want to get really crazy, you can always add more petal layers!

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

  • To make a twelve-petal flower, first remove your second layer of petals so that you can add another central square. Once again, place the new square so that its points overlap evenly onto each petal. Then add a third central square with the corners falling between the corners of the two other squares. Now add your second and third layer of petals, and there you have it. A twelve-petal flower!

    To make a 16-petal flower, add a fourth 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 spectacular 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 Post-it® Notes you can fit into one circular flower!

    You may want to give the wildflower a skinny stem. If you cut a 76mm square Post-it® Note in half, how wide will it be?

    The wildflower

  • Bedtime Math

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


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