Maybe not, but they do like going for a ride! Jessica Nelson spotted a calf riding in line at the McDonald’s drivethrough in Marshfield, Wisconsin. Was there really a whole live cow in the car? Yes: it was just a baby – called a “calf” – and there were 2 more calves with it in the back seat. The owner, Bernie, later told Jessica that he had just bought them at a fair. He was just grabbing a snack on his way home – and we bet the cows ordered milkshakes.
Wee ones: If the calf in the window had 2 other calves with it, how many calves were there in total? Count them up!
Little kids: If you and a cow walk into McDonald’s to order a milkshake, how many legs do you and the cow have together? Bonus: If each of you orders 4 milkshakes, how many milkshakes is that?
Big kids: If you walk all 3 cows into McDonald’s, what fraction of the legs in that group are yours? Bonus: If a bunch of friends join you and now 1/2 the legs in the group are people legs, how many friends joined you?
Wee ones: 3 calves.
Little kids: 6 legs. Bonus: 8 milkshakes.
Big kids: 1/7, because you have 2 of the 14 legs. Bonus: 5 friends. Since there are 12 cow legs, you need 12 people legs to be half the total. You have 2, so you need 10 more people legs.
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.