Pets in Flight

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.

Pets in Flight

March 31, 2018

Lots of people fly on airplanes every day, and they bring all kinds of things onto those planes — even their pets. The airport staff find some pretty crazy ones in the mix. Airports use x-ray machines to check everyone’s bags for anything unsafe; U.S. airports scan almost 2 million flyers a year. As they do, they find all kinds of weird live animals. One guy tried to sneak 7 pet snakes and 3 pet turtles on board. He had some tucked into his pockets, some in his shirt, and so on. Another guy had loaded his suitcase with plastic bags of water, with eels, fish and worms swimming around in them! People are allowed to bring small pets in cages — if you follow the rules, you’re fine. But sneaking them in your suitcase is another story.

Wee ones: What numbers would you say to count those 7 sneaky snakes?

Little kids: If the guy snuck 7 snakes and 3 turtles onto the plane, how many pet reptiles was he carrying?  Bonus: How many legs do those reptiles have all together?

Big kids: The guy with the plastic bags had 8 eels, 163 tropical fish, and 22 worms. How many wet pets is that?  Bonus: If they’d told him he could bring on just 50 of the animals, what’s the greatest number of fish he would have had to leave behind?

The sky’s the limit: Suppose the plane has 15 animals up in the seats and 21 animals down below, all cats and dogs. If there are twice as many cats as dogs up in the seats, but twice as many dogs as cats in total, how many cats are down below?




Wee ones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Little kids: 10 reptiles.  Bonus: 12 legs.

Big kids: 193 pets.  Bonus: 143 fish, since even if he brought all the eels and worms, he’d still bring at least 20 fish.

The sky’s the limit: Just 2 cats. Of the 15 pets up above, there are 2 sets of cats for the 1 set of dogs, making 3 sets of 5 pets each. That gives us 10 cats. But of the 36 pets in total, there are 2 sets of dogs for the 1 set of cats, putting 12 pets total in each set. That gives us 24 dogs and 12 cats. Since 10 cats are up above, just 2 cats are down below.

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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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