We know we can teach an animal to dance. But can wild animals out there dance to a beat? One scientist watched thousands of videos of animals “dancing” to music. He found 33 of them were dancing for real – and 29 of those were birds! (the rest were elephants). One cockatoo, Snowball, loved the song “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys, and danced on the beat even when the song sped up or slowed down. That bird sure can boogie.

*Wee ones:* If you clap to the beat 4 times, what numbers do you say?

*Little kids:* If the 5th dancing bird and the next 2 after that all liked rap music, what numbers were those next 2 birds? *Bonus:* If the 29 birds plus Snowball could all dance, how many dancing birds is that?

*Big kids:* If Snowball dances on the beat for 30 seconds and that’s just 1/4 of the song, how long is the song? *Bonus:* If the song “Everybody” is 3 minutes 44 seconds long, how many seconds would Snowball get to dance if she danced the whole song?

*The sky’s the limit:* If a bunch of birds and elephants hit the dance floor, and there are 4 more birds than elephants and 10 more elephant feet than bird feet, how many dancing feet are there in all?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 1, 2, 3, 4.

*Little kids:* The 6th and 7th birds. *Bonus:* 30 birds.

*Big kids:* 120 seconds, or 2 minutes. *Bonus:* 224 seconds.

*The sky’s the limit:* 62 feet. If we have b birds and e elephants, then we have 2b bird feet and 4e elephant feet. Using those:

b = e + 4 , so 2b = 2e + 8

4e = 2b + 10

Substituting the first equation into the second, we get

4e = 2e + 8 + 10

So 2e = 18, and e = 9. There are therefore 9 elephants and 13 birds, giving us 36 elephant feet and 26 bird feet (which is 10 fewer than the elephant feet, like it’s supposed to be). That gives us 62 dancing feet in total.