Lots of Dogs, Lots of Legs

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 Dogs, Lots of Legs

August 7, 2018

What are all these dogs and people trying to do? The people are trying to run a 3-Legged Race while walking their dogs! But why? The dogs are all golden retrievers, and they’re at a summer barbecue for the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland. Scotland is where golden retrievers were first born. As for their silly owners, someone decided they should try a 3-legged race. 2 people stand next to each other, and strap together the 2 legs touching each other. So now instead of 4 legs all together, they have 3. That makes it tricky to walk: the person on the right has to step with the left leg exactly when the other person steps with her right leg. Now try to run like that while also handling a playful pup. Whoever won that race deserves a doggie treat!

Wee ones: If each team has a dog and 2 people, how many players are on a team?

Little kids: If each team has 2 people and a dog, how many legs on a team?  Bonus: What kind of player would have to join them to make 10 legs in total?

Big kids: If 24 people and 13 dogs want to race, will they have leftover dogs or people once they pair up?  Bonus: The club’s biggest barbecue ever had 222 dogs! How many furry paws did they have all together?

The sky’s the limit: If there are 81 players in total on a bunch of teams as described in the Little kids question, how many of each kind of player do they have?










Wee ones: 3 players.

Little kids: 8 legs.  Bonus: Another person, to add 2 legs.

Big kids: 1 leftover dog, since the 24 people need only 12 dogs.  Bonus: 888 furry paws.

The sky’s the limit: 27 dogs and 54 people. There are 3 players on a team, so 81 players make 27 teams. Then each team has 1 dog and 2 people.

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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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