Hitchhiker Kitten

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.

Hitchhiker Kitten

August 13, 2017

Here’s a kitten who likes to go places: she hitched a ride by hiding under the hood of a car! A person who works at Mars, the candy company, left his house in Pennsylvania and drove to the candy factory in New Jersey, 28 miles away. After he parked, people heard meows coming from the car. They found the cat INSIDE the front of the car under the hood (the big lid). The engine gets very hot, so it’s amazing the kitten lived through the half-hour ride. The car owner drove the kitten back to Pennsylvania, where a family adopted the cat — and of course they named her Mars!

Wee ones: If Mars the kitten drove from Pennsylvania to New Jersey, then back to Pennsylvania, then again to her new home, how many car rides is that?

Little kids: Which is *shorter*, an 8-mile car ride or a 4-mile car ride?  Bonus: If the candy worker left his house at 8:00 am and drove for exactly 1/2 hour, at what time did he and Mars get to the factory?

Big kids: The kitten drove 28 miles to NJ, then 28 miles back, then another 21 miles to her new home. How far did the kitten drive?  Bonus: Who drives farther, a puppy who rides for 3 hours at 30 miles each hour, or a kitten who rides for 4 hours at 25 miles per hour?

The sky’s the limit: If Mars drove from the candy factory to a house 30 miles away, and at the exact same time a dog left his doghouse and drove to the factory at twice the speed of the kitten, how far from the house would they meet?




Wee ones: 3 car rides.

Little kids: The 4-mile ride.  Bonus: At 8:30 am.

Big kids: 77 miles.  Bonus: The cat, since it drives 100 miles vs. 90 for the dog.

The sky’s the limit: 20 miles from the doghouse (10 miles from the factory). If the dog is driving twice as fast, any piece it drives will be twice as long as whatever the cat drove in that time. So when they meet, the dog will have driven 2 pieces like the cat’s piece, so the whole distance has been carved into 3 equal pieces. Out of 30 miles, that makes each piece 10 miles long. The cat drove just 1 stretch 10 miles long, and the dog drove 2 times that, or 20 miles.

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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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