Following Your Favorite Shark

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.

Following Your Favorite Shark

December 19, 2014

When you watch squirrels or chipmunks run around your neighborhood, do you ever wonder exactly where they go? How many bushes, trees and buildings do they visit? Do they stay nearby, or do they get bored and visit other streets? The answers get even more interesting for animals that swim or fly, since they can travel a lot farther. A great white shark named Lydia now has lots of fans following her every move on the Ocearch website. Scientists stuck a little gadget on her fin called a satellite tracker. No matter where she swims, that tracker sends a message to the satellite, which then marks where she is on a map. We can click on the map and see red and blue dots showing where this 2,000 pound, 14-foot long shark is swimming, and how far she swims every few weeks. Great white sharks can be dangerous, so it feels good to chase them instead of them chasing us — and to do so from very far away!

Wee ones: Whose body is longer, yours or Lydia’s? How “long” are you in feet?

Little kids: If the map shows a straight line of 5 blue dots for Lydia, with 100 miles between each of them, how far did she swim from the 1st to the 5th dot?  Bonus: How much longer than you is Lydia, if she’s 14 feet long? (You can round your height to the nearest foot.)

Big kids: If the map tracks 20 sharks and shows 3 dots for each, how many dots are there on the map?  Bonus: If Lydia’s tracker “pings” (sends a signal) every 4 hours, how many pings at most can the scientists get from 7 am to 11 pm?




Wee ones: Body length is different for everyone, but Lydia is longer than any of us!

Little kids: 400 miles, since the 5 dots have 4 spaces between them.  Bonus: Different for everyone…subtract your height in feet from 14.

Big kids: 60 dots.  Bonus: 5 pings. It’s a 16-hour period, but you can get a ping at 7 am, plus the 4 more at 11 am, 3 pm, 7 pm and 11 pm (this in math is called the “fencepost problem,” when you have to count the endpoint.)

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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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