Chickens Playing the Xylophone

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.

Chickens Playing the Xylophone

November 28, 2018

The xylophone is such a fun way to make music. You hit bars of different lengths with a stick, and they ring to play notes. Turns out even chickens can do this. A Colorado farmer named Kris Garrett worried that her chickens were bored, spending all day just pecking at corn and at each other. So she stuck a xylophone on the wall in their yard to see what would happen. The chickens started pecking at the xylophone with their beaks, and found out that this sounded really great! As you can hear in this video, they play a pretty good song…if you listen carefully, it starts off sounding like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Of course, they call it “Kris Had a Jazzy Chick.”

Wee ones: How many colored bars does the xylophone have? Check out the picture!

Little kids: Which color bar is 2 to the left of the green one?  Bonus: There are 11 chickens, but only 8 bars. If each chicken gets 1 bar to play, how many chickens have to wait their turn?

Big kids: If each of the 11 chickens pecks the xylophone twice, how many notes do they play?  Bonus: If a song has 8 lines with 6 notes for each, and the chickens take turns in order playing them, how many chickens will get to play 1 more note than the rest?












Wee ones: 8 bars.

Little kids: Orange.  Bonus: 3 chickens.

Big kids: 22 notes.  Bonus: 4 chickens. They need to play 48 notes, so after each plays 4 notes, they will have played 44 so far, leaving 4 more.

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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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