When we say someone “eats like a bird,” that should mean the person eats a LOT. Every day birds have to eat many times their weight in food so they have energy to fly. But hopefully eating like a bird doesn’t mean eating what a bird eats. Some birds eat tasty people-food like berries and fish. But a few feathery friends — the robin, the woodcock, and the warbler — all like worms. As the birds walk around, their stomping shakes up the earthworms underground and makes them move around, making it easy for the birds to find them. Girl robins eat more worms than boy robins, and warblers like fuzzy caterpillars even better. Yum!
Wee ones: If a bird eats a worm, then a caterpillar, then a worm, then a caterpillar…what do you think the bird eats next?
Little kids: If 3 birds go hunting for worms, how many stomping feet do they have? Bonus: If a bird pecks 10 times but grabs a worm only 3 of those times, how many pecks were misses?
Big kids: If a robin slurps up 6 worms every 10 minutes, how many can it eat in 20 minutes? Bonus: If the robin keeps eating 6 worms every 10 minutes, how many can it eat in 1 hour? (Reminder: An hour has 60 minutes.)
Wee ones: A worm!
Little kids: 6 feet. Bonus: 7 pecks.
Big kids: 12 worms. Bonus: 36 worms, since there are 6 sets of 10 minutes.
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.