Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Your bed probably has a nice bouncy mattress you can jump up and down on when your parents aren’t looking. Well, in the old days, beds were nothing like that.

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Your bed probably has a nice bouncy mattress you can jump up and down on when your parents aren’t looking. Well, in the old days, beds were nothing like that. A bed frame was a wooden rectangle with ropes stretched across it to hold you up. Rich people stuffed lots of feathers under the ropes — but everyone else stuffed the bed with hay, which was itchy and scratchy and full of bugs. And every night you had to re-tighten the ropes. So that’s why we say, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

Wee ones: When you look down at a bed, what shape is it?

Little kids: If you have 4 ropes stretched across your bed and 2 more running from head to foot, how many ropes do you have to tighten at night?  Bonus: How many squares do those ropes make, including with the frame around them?

Big kids: If there are 10 pegs down each long side and 6 across — with the long sides and short sides sharing the peg at the corner — how many pegs are there?  Bonus: If you have 7 ropes running across and 3 ropes down, how many spaces have ropes on all 4 sides?

Answers:
Wee ones: A rectangle.

Little kids: 6 ropes.  Bonus: 15 squares. Try drawing it! The 4 ropes across divide the bed into 5 sections, and the 2 from head to foot carve each of those 5 sections into 3 pieces.

Big kids: 28 pegs.  Bonus: Just 12 squares. There are 6 short rows with just 2 squares in each.