The Bird That Really Turns Heads

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.

The Bird That Really Turns Heads

December 11, 2017

When you look around the room or read a book, your eyes roll from side to side in their sockets, so you can see without turning your head. If you were an owl, though, you’d be stuck. Owl’s eyes can’t move in their sockets. So every time an owl wants to look at something, he has to turn his whole feathery head in that direction. Luckily, owls can turn their heads all the way past their own shoulders, in either direction! A full turn of a circle is 360 “degrees,” and an owl can turn 135 degrees to the left and 135 to the right, letting him see a whopping 270 degrees total around them. Add their amazing sense of hearing and their silent wings, and you’ve got one fierce hunter — although he’ll still have trouble reading a book.

Wee ones: If an owl looks left, then right, then straight ahead, then left again, right, ahead, then left again…what comes next?

Little kids: If an owl catches a mouse, how many legs do they have together?  Bonus: Many owls are “nocturnal:” they stay awake at night. If an owl goes to bed at 5 in the morning and wakes up at 7 at night, how long does he sleep? (Hint if needed: How many hours from 5 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon?)

Big kids: The world’s smallest owl, the Elf Owl, is only 5 inches tall. How many Elfs would have to stack on top of a 33-inch-tall Great Grey owl to match a 53-inch-tall kid?  Bonus: Owls need to see well because they hunt up so much food: A family of 5 can eat 3,000 mice a year! How many mice does each owl get?




Wee ones: To the right.

Little kids: 6 legs.  Bonus: 14 hours.

Big kids: 4 Elfs, since they need to add 20 inches.  Bonus: 600 mice.

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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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