Giant Family for a Giant Tortoise

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.

Giant Family for a Giant Tortoise

May 25, 2016

Living for 80 years sounds like a long time to us humans. But this 80-year-old Galapagos tortoise is only halfway through life. As our friends Tyler and Ally M. just shared with us, last week Nigrita the tortoise just had babies for the first time! She hatched 9 mini tortoises, having laid the eggs earlier this year. The babies are very special because Galapagos tortoises are endangered. Galapagos tortoises can live to 150 years old. It’s the largest tortoise, as it can weigh more than 900 pounds! And while we’re at it, what’s the difference between a tortoise and a turtle? After all, they’re both reptiles, so they both breathe air and lay eggs. Turtles, though, spend most of their time in the water, while tortoises live on dry land. In fact, tortoises are pretty bad swimmers. But since they live to 150 years old, they get the last laugh.

Wee ones: If you’ve counted 5 of the baby tortoises, what numbers do you say to count the next two babies?

Little kids: If you have 3 pet tortoises, 2 pet turtles and a pet snake, how many pet reptiles do you have?  Bonus: If Nigrita hatches 9 babies this year, 6 babies next year, 10 the year after that, then 7 the year after that…what number would she hatch next to keep the pattern?

Big kids: How many scaly feet do those 9 baby tortoises have all together?  Bonus: Who weighs more, 9 baby tortoises who’ve grown to 80 pounds each, or their 700-pound mom?




Wee ones: 6 and 7.

Little kids: 6 pet reptiles.  Bonus: 11 babies.

Big kids: 36 feet.  Bonus: The 9 baby tortoises, since they weigh 720 pounds together.

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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 while still in diapers, 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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