Usually when we talk about octopuses, “cute” isn’t what we think first. But this eight-legged critter here really is cute. Until now, this type of octopus has been called the flapjack octopus, since it looks like a pancake: it has webbing between its legs, like a duck’s feet. It lives as far as 2,000 feet deep in the ocean, where the water is very cold. So the Monterey Bay Aquarium keeps their new flappy friend in a tank of super-cold water. They’ve been waiting more than a year for the octopus to lay eggs, and might have to wait 2-3 more years…cold-water sea creatures don’t lay eggs very often. When they do, you can bet their octopus babies are cute!
Wee ones: Who has more legs, you or an octopus? (All octopuses have 8 legs.)
Little kids: How many legs do you and an octopus have together? Bonus: If it’s June right now and the octopus finally lays eggs 4 months from now, in what month will they show up?
Big kids: If you can scuba dive a whole mile deep (5,280 feet), and the cute octopus makes it only to 1,000 feet, how much deeper did you swim? Bonus: Which would stretch farther on your kitchen counter, a row of 6 8-inch flapjacks, or 7 of these 7-inch flapjack octopuses?
Wee ones: The octopus.
Little kids: 10 legs. Bonus: In October.
Big kids: 4,280 feet. Bonus: The 7 octopuses, since they’d reach 49 inches, while the pancakes would span only 48 inches.
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.