Hamster on a Roll

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.

Hamster on a Roll

October 25, 2017

One animal people enjoy as a live pet is the hamster. These small, furry animals love to run inside that spinning hamster wheel. But when you take them out on real wheels — in a car — things might not be so cute. When policemen in Beaverton, Oregon stopped a really bad driver to arrest her, they found a pet hamster riding in her lap. It jumped on the dashboard, then onto the seat, then under the seat…3 cops had to chase the critter around the inside of the car before they could catch it! Lesson learned: better to ride with a stuffed animal.

Wee ones: If the car has 4 wheels plus a steering wheel, and the hamster has its own wheel at home, how many wheels is that in total?

Little kids: A hamster has 4 legs, and a policeman, since he’s a person, has 2. How many more legs does the hamster have?  Bonus: But that 4-legged hamster was chased by 3 cops…how many more legs did the cops have together?

Big kids: If the cops chased the hamster around the dashboard for 14 seconds, then in the back of the car for 20 seconds, and then in the front again for another 18 seconds, how long did the cops chase it?  Bonus: Hamsters love to eat mealworms — yum. If putting out a pile of food could have lured the hamster out in half the time, how fast would that have been?

The sky’s the limit: If the lady drove 36 miles an hour, the cops drove 3 times as fast, and the hamster’s favorite speed is halfway between, how fast does the hamster like to drive? (Hint: there’s a shortcut to solve this that saves some steps!)

Wee ones: 6 wheels.

Little kids: 2 legs more.  Bonus: Again, 2 legs more: this time 6 compared to 4.

Big kids: 52 seconds.  Bonus: In 26 seconds.

The sky’s the limit: 72 miles an hour. If you have 1 of something and 3 of the same thing, the halfway mark is 2 of that thing. So the hamster likes to drive twice as fast as 36. To solve it more formally, the cops drive 108 miles an hour, and the difference between that and 36 is 72. The hamster drives 1/2 that amount more than the lady, so it drives 36 miles per hour faster than she does. That gives us 36 + 36 = 72.

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.