Lots of Room for Giraffes

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.

Lots of Room for Giraffes

September 6, 2017

…and zebras, elephants, cheetahs and other African animals. We all live on big pieces of land called continents, and we forget just how big they are. This map shows the true size of Africa by squeezing other countries and continents inside its borders. Each country takes up its correct amount of area, and we see that Africa can swallow up giant countries like the U.S., China and India. Africa contains 54 official countries, with Algeria the biggest (919,000 square miles), plus another 2 possible countries that people don’t quite agree on. All the zebras and giraffes care about, though, is that they have lots of room to run.

Wee ones: Which one looks bigger, the blue piece (Eastern Europe) or the red piece (China)?

Little kids: How many colored countries and regions can you count whose names fit inside their shapes? (Note: the 2 red chunks are both parts of China, and the 2 orange parts are both parts of India.)  Bonus: In addition, the map shows 5 more countries who need lines pointing to their names. How many countries are there in total?

Big kids: The whole African continent covers nearly 12,000,000 (12 million) square miles. If the U.S. spanned exactly 3,000,000, how many times as big is Africa?  Bonus: Africa is home to about 32,000 lions and 80,000 giraffes. About how many square miles would each animal get if they all shared the space equally?




Wee ones: The red piece (China).

Little kids: 9 countries/regions.  Bonus: 14 countries.

Big kids: 4 times as big.  Bonus: About 100 square miles each.

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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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