This frog is green, just like a frog should be. But he doesn’t look as smooth and slimy, does he? That’s because this is a bush trimmed to look like a frog. Plants of other colors are growing right up the side to make his mouth and belly. “Topiary” is the art of cutting bushes and other plants to make shapes. They can turn into anything from animals to houses to grand pianos. This frog and the horses above live at the Montreal Botanical Garden. The thing is, when you’re made of a bush that’s growing all the time, you need a lot of “haircuts” to stay nice and neat — far more than your smoother, slimier friends.
Wee ones: This frog is 1 of 3 frogs sitting at that pool. How many other frogs hang out with him?
Little kids: If the frog needs a quick trimming every other day and he got a haircut Thursday and Saturday, when is his next haircut? Bonus: If it takes 6 minutes to trim his back, 5 minutes to clean up his tummy and 2 minutes to trim his toes, how long does the frog’s haircut take?
Big kids: If a regular pet frog is 5 inches tall and this frog is 7 times as tall, how tall is the topiary frog? Bonus: If you have to trim the frog every 3rd day starting on October 3, and the grand piano every 5th day, how many times in October will they both get a haircut on the same day?
Wee ones: 2 more frogs.
Little kids: Monday. Bonus: 13 minutes.
Big kids: 35 inches tall. Bonus: Twice: on October 15 and 30, since both those numbers are multiples of both 3 and 5.
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.