Mega Massive Tooth

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.

Mega Massive Tooth

November 1, 2015

It’s super exciting when we find the bones and teeth of animals from long ago. In the case of the megalodon, we might be just as happy this giant ocean creature isn’t around any more! As Bedtime Math fans Mary Claire A. and son Gavin just shared, this past week a regular guy wandering down a beach found what turned out to be a fossilized megalodon tooth (“fossilized” means it has turned into rock over time). You can tell from the huge tooth that this shark-like animal must have been huge, too: scientists think megalodons were 60 feet long. The animals lived from 15 million to 5 million years ago…for comparison, dinosaurs died out completely by 65 million years ago. Some people want to believe that there are still giant shark-like megalodons swirling around deep in the ocean. No one has seen any proof of that yet, but maybe someone will be brave enough to go looking for one.

Wee ones: If you have a megalodon tooth, a great white shark tooth, a teeny whale tooth and one of your own teeth, how many teeth are you holding in total?

Little kids: If you’re holding 10 of your own lost teeth in one hand and 1 huge megalodon tooth in the other, how many more of your own teeth are you holding?  Bonus: How much older is the tooth of a megalodon from 15 million years than a tooth from 5 million years ago?

Big kids: If this tooth is 6 inches wide and the Megalodon had a row of 40 lined up side to side, how wide would that row of teeth stretch?  Bonus: How many feet is that? As a shortcut, think about how many feet wide 1 tooth is…(Reminder: A foot has 12 inches.)

The sky’s the limit: If a megalodon had 5 times as many teeth as you’ve lost so far, and that’s also 60 more than you’ve lost, how many teeth did the megalodon have?




Wee ones: 4 teeth.

Little kids: 9 more teeth.  Bonus: 10 million years older.

Big kids: 240 inches.  Bonus: 20 feet, since each tooth is a whole 1/2 foot wide.

The sky’s the limit: 75 teeth. If the megalodon had 5 times as many teeth as you, the gap between the two numbers is four times your number of teeth. That gap is 60, which means you have lost 15 teeth. The megalodon had 5 times that, which is 75.

And thank you again Mary Claire and Gavin for sharing this giant story!

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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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