Grouchy Birthday, Oscar!

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.

Grouchy Birthday, Oscar!

June 1, 2014

Today is Oscar the Grouch’s birthday – he turns 45 years old – and we’re wondering how he feels, living in that smelly trash can all this time. No wonder he’s so grouchy! He was brought to life 45 years ago by Jim Henson and Don Stone for the TV show Sesame Street. As the story goes, they made his personality match a really mean waiter they knew from some restaurant, and made his voice sound like a New York City taxi driver. Oscar started off orange in color, but by 1972 he had changed to green. They stuck him in his garbage can and taught him fun songs like his all-time favorite, “I Love Trash.” Sadly, there’s lots of trash for Oscar to enjoy, since the average American makes 4 pounds of it every day…if Oscar’s even worse, how much trash is he making?

Wee ones: If you have 4 trash cans outside your home and Oscar moves into one of them, how many are still empty for trash?

Little kids: If Oscar is 45 this year, how old will he be next year?  Bonus: How many years older than you is he?

Big kids: If Big Bird, Elmo and Cookie Monster each make 4 pounds of trash a day, but Grover makes only half as much because he recycles, how much do they give Oscar each day in total?  Bonus: How much trash is that each week?

The sky’s the limit: If in a week Big Bird makes 1/2 as much trash as Cookie, Elmo makes 1/3 more than Big Bird, and Oscar makes twice as much as Elmo, how many pounds of trash does Oscar make if he makes 6 more pounds than Cookie?




Wee ones: 3 cans.

Little kids: 46 years old.  Bonus: Different for everyone…subtract your age from 45, or count down that many years from 45.

Big kids: 14 pounds, since Grover makes just 2.  Bonus: 98 pounds.

The sky’s the limit: Big Bird makes 1/2 as much trash as Cookie (or 3/6), and Elmo makes 1/3 more than that, so Elmo makes 4/6 of Cookie’s total. That simplifies to 2/3. Oscar makes double that, so Oscar makes 4/3 of Cookie’s total. That extra third is 6 pounds, so Cookie must make 18 pounds and Oscar makes 24 pounds.

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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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