# The Straw That Broke the Gator’s Back

October 12, 2019

Hey, is that a real live monster-sized alligator? Luckily, no. It’s an alligator made of rice straw. Every year in Japan the rice harvest leaves straw that you can’t eat. So people bundle and braid the straw into GIANT animal sculptures. Judging from the bridge, this full-length alligator is probably over 10 feet tall and 30 feet long, about twice as long as a car! The artists also made a giant lion, gorilla, and other animals — check them out here! And how much straw do they use? What do they weigh? Let’s do the math to find out.

Wee ones: What shape do the alligator’s teeth look like?

Little kids: Are there more big teeth or small teeth in the alligator’s top jaw?  Bonus: How many more big teeth than small teeth does the top jaw have?

Big kids: If there are 5 giant sculptures and each used 200 bales (box-shaped bundles) of straw, how many bales were used?  Bonus: If a bale weighs 40 pounds, how much does a 200-bale animal weigh?

The sky’s the limit: A sculpture uses a “mystery number” of bales. We can’t tell you what it is, but if you take that number, add 10, then divide by 10, then square that number (multiply that number by itself), you get 361. What’s the mystery number?