What do people mean by “dog years”? Every animal has some number of years it’s expected to live. We people live for about 78 years, but dogs live a much shorter life, about 1/7 of ours. So each year for us feels like 7 years to them. Then our friends Victoria and Emilia I. asked, can you measure years using other animals? And Sophie L. asked how old her cats are in cat years. Well, let’s see how many times an animal’s life divides into one “people-life,” and that’s how long 1 year feels to them. If cats live 10 years, then they can fit about 8 cat lives into a human lifetime, so each “cat year” is 8 years. A 6-year-old cat feels 48 years old! Hamsters live about 3 years, so 1 year for us is 26 hamster years. That sounds like one busy year.
Wee ones: If a “cat year” is 8 years and a “rabbit year” is 1 year longer, how long is a rabbit year?
Little kids: If guinea pigs live about 6 years and cats live about 10 years, for which one does a real year feel longer? Bonus: If your dog has been chewing on your family’s shoes for 2 years, how long is that in dog years? (Reminder if needed: A year for us feels 7 times as long to a dog).
Big kids: Some say that the first 2 years of a dog’s life each feel like 10 years to them, then each year after that feels like 4. If a dog has lived 5 real years, now how long is that in dog years? Bonus: If goldfish live about 2 years, how long does 1 of our years feel to them, if we live to 78?
Wee ones: 9 years.
Little kids: For the guinea pig, since it’s a bigger fraction (piece) of his life. Bonus: 14 years.
Big kids: 32 years, since it feels like 10+10+4+4+4. Bonus: 39 years.
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.