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Want some quality bedtime bonding time that helps your kid? Try this math app. Yes, really.

Thanks to this app, parents don't have to be math whizzes to help their kids improve their arithmetic skills.

Want some quality bedtime bonding time that helps your kid? Try this math app. Yes, really.

One of my favorite parts of of childhood was reading with my parents.

I always looked forward to snuggling up with them as they read stories and made goofy monster voices. One of my favorites was " The Monster at the End of This Book" by Jon Stone.


Image via Paul Ramsey/YouTube.

My least favorite part of being a kid? Math homework.

If I needed help, I had to wait for my dad to come home from work because my mom couldn't help me (I think I got my aversion to math from her). I still remember the time when he promised that we got all the math problems correct, but it turned out I got one wrong. That was in first grade. I may or may not still be bitter about it more than 20 years later. (Spoiler alert: I'm still bitter.)

But now there's an awesome free app that combines story time and math for a learning/bonding win.

There are a lot of apps out there to help with math skills and just as many that tell children's stories in an interactive way. Bedtime Math, created by the nonprofit Bedtime Math Foundation, combines both approaches ... and they're seeing results.


Image via Bedtime Math app.

A study found that using Bedtime Math regularly can help elementary school children do significantly better in math class. The best part? You don't have to be confident about your math skills to play.

In fact, kids in the study who had "math-anxious" parents (the ones who didn't like math or feel confident in their skills) actually saw the most improvement.

Here's how it works: Every day, there's a new math problem added.

You don't jump straight to the adding and subtraction. First, there's a story to read (and, if you're lucky, there's a cute animal party involved).

Once you're in the app, there are no scores, timing, or drills to do. It's just a low-key, fun bonding storytelling tool to use while unwinding at the end of the day.

There's no need to guess. The correct answer is a click away, so parents don't have to worry about doing the math incorrectly.

It's more fun than doing a boring math worksheet, and there's strong evidence that's it's really improving children's math skills.

By the end of the school year, the kids with math-anxious parents were performing as well as children whose parents were confident in their math abilities.

Hopefully, this app can help us shift our approach to math. Sure, not all of us are good at math, but that shouldn't mean our kids can't succeed at it.

Obviously, not all families have the ability to buy an iPad. Some families may not have the time for bedtime reading because parents are working multiple jobs. But the lesson here is that having a few minutes of bonding time between parent and child can help break a family cycle of low math performance.

The Bedtime Math app is an awesome math education and family-bonding tool. Let's just call it ... a welcome addition.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less