Have you ever met a bird that’s bigger than you? If you haven’t, you probably haven’t met an emu. These silly-looking birds can grow up to 100 pounds and 6 1/2 feet tall! They run 4 miles per hour faster than the fastest human on earth, lay huge dark green eggs, and pant like dogs to stay cool. It turns out they’re like dogs in other ways. This emu ran away from its yard, but luckily a neighbor found it playing and splashing around in a sprinkler about a mile away. Maybe since it can’t fly, it was just practicing its swimming.
Wee ones: Emus walk on 2 feet, just like us! Take 4 steps forward, counting each step out loud. (Bonus: How many steps did your right foot take?)
Little kids: If this emu ran to the neighbor’s house in 2 minutes, splashed around for 4 minutes, and ran back in 3 minutes, how long was its whole trip? Bonus: What if the emu also stopped for a snack that added 6 minutes to the trip – how long would it all take then?
Big kids: Emu eggs are normally 5 inches long, and come in “clutches” of 6. If you lined up all the 5-inch eggs longways in a 6-egg clutch, how far would they stretch? Bonus: Can you list that measurement in feet and fractions of feet?
Wee ones: Count as you step: 1, 2, 3, 4! No matter which foot you stepped with first, your right foot took 2 steps: either the 1st and 3rd, or 2nd and 4th.
Little kids: 9 minutes. Bonus: 15 minutes.
Big kids: 30 inches. Bonus: 2 1/2 feet. 12 goes into 30 only 2 times, making 24 and leaving 6. 6/12 = 1/2.
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.