12 Days of Presents

12 Days of Presents

December 25, 2018

(Note: As we do on special holidays, in honor of today we’re providing a second extra math problem about Christmas, for those who celebrate or would like to learn more about it. Enjoy!)

12-days-of-christmas-birdsChristmas is a very special day for Christians, as it’s the birthday of baby Jesus. But Christmas starts a whole 12 days of celebration ending with the Epiphany, the day the Wise Men brought gifts to their newborn King. In the old days, people gave gifts on all 12 days. So of course someone wrote a song about it, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Many of the gifts are either birds — geese a-laying, swans a-swimming, or that partridge in a pear tree. And those gifts add up FAST. Remember, on the first day of Christmas you get a partridge, then on the 2nd day you get 2 turtle doves AND a partridge, then on the 3rd day 3 French hens AND 2 more turtle doves AND another partridge…we hope you also got some birdcages for Christmas!

Wee ones: On the 2nd day of Christmas you get 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. How many birds do you get that day?

Little kids: On the 3rd day of Christmas you get 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. How many birds is that?  Bonus: If you wanted to split the birds into 2 equal groups but keep each with its own kind, how would you do that?

Big kids: On day 5 you get 5 golden rings, and you get a whole new set of 5 on each of days 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. How many rings do you get in total?  Bonus: If each ring weighs a whole ounce in gold and gold costs $2,000 per ounce, how much do all those rings cost?











Wee ones: 3 birds.

Little kids: 6 birds.  Bonus: Put the 3 hens in one group, and the doves and partridge in the other.

Big kids: 40 rings, arriving on a total of 8 days.  Bonus: $80,000.

And a big thank-you to fans Miren L. and Sabastian J. for suggesting this topic!

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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 before she could walk, 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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