Nelly’s Nose

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.

Nelly’s Nose

April 19, 2016

Dogs love people, and are happy to play just about any game with us. Usually they like to catch, fetch, or just chase us across the yard. But here’s a dog who likes a different kind of game: balancing things on her head. Nelly’s owners can give her just about anything — a toy plane, a light bulb, a carton of eggs — and she can hold it there with no problem. Her owners have taken lots of pictures of her in these poses, and now Nelly’s nose is famous for all the things that sit on it. Dogs also like to snack, but Nelly is also willing to balance a stack of potato chips on her nose, a grapefruit section, and a long loaf of bread. Nelly is a golden retriever, a breed (type) of dog that loves to run and fetch things for its owner. But for Nelly, it looks like the owners are doing all the fetching!

Wee ones: If you can balance a flowerpot on your head for 4 seconds and Nelly can hold it for 6 seconds, whose falls first?

Little kids: If Nelly balances a blender for 5 seconds and a pint of ice cream for 7 seconds, how much longer did she balance the ice cream?  Bonus: If she balances one right after the other, then spends another 100 seconds making a milkshake with them, how long does the whole stunt take?

Big kids: If Nelly balances 2 stuffed animals, then 3 Lego cars, then 2 stuffed animals to repeat, what kind of toy is the 24th one she balances?  Bonus: Of her first 50 toys in this pattern, how many would be stuffed animals?

The sky’s the limit: If we ask Nelly to balance a pineapple, a lamp, a juicebox, and a stack of toilet paper rolls in any order she wants, in how many orders can she balance them if the pineapple is always 3rd? (Hint if needed: What if the pineapple were always 1st?)




Wee ones: Your flowerpot.

Little kids: 2 seconds longer.  Bonus: 112 seconds.

Big kids: Lego, because the 24th will be 4th in that set of 5.  Bonus: 20, since 2 out of every 5 are stuffed animals.

The sky’s the limit: Just 6 ways. Having the pineapple third is the same as always having it 1st, so you can ignore it and find the different orders for the other 3 objects. You have 3 choices for the 1st of those slots (L, J or T), and you have 2 choices for each of those choices, giving you 3 x 2; then you have just 1 item left, so it’s 3 x 2 x 1 = 6. If you want to write out the orders, they are LJT, LTJ, JLT, JTL, TLJ, TJL…and you can stick in a P in the 3rd slot to see the real results.

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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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