Raccoons, those furry, masked creatures like this one that invade our garbage cans, are super cute, but have super-sharp claws for climbing trees. Turns out those claws can even hang onto a skyscraper! A mama raccoon in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota took a wrong turn and got stuck on a ledge. It was too high for firemen to reach her with a ladder. She then jumped over to a 25-story bank building and started climbing up. The brave furball stopped at a window on the 23rd floor for a nap, then must have decided going back down looked like a bad idea. So she kept climbing up a bit, then down, then up, then down..and finally reached the top, where animal rescuers caught her and gave her some cat food. They brought her to a nice grassy town to set her free. No more city trips for the raccoon!
Wee ones: A raccoon has 4 paws. Can you name the number that comes after 4 when you’re counting up?
Little kids: Once the raccoon climbed to the 6th floor, what numbers were the next 2 floors she climbed? Bonus: When the raccoon reached the 23rd story of the 25-story building, how many floors did she have left to climb? Try counting up!
Big kids: The raccoon was caught very early the next morning. If she climbed from 10 am one day to 5 am the next day, how long was her adventure? Bonus: What time was halfway through her trip?
The sky’s the limit — especially for raccoons: If the raccoon stopped to look around at every 4th floor (starting with the 4th) and napped at every 6th floor (starting with the 6th), at how many floors would she have done both on a 100-story building?
Wee ones: 5 comes after 4!
Little kids: 7 and 8. Bonus: 2 more floors.
Big kids: 19 hours, since it’s 5 hours less than a full day. Bonus: 7:30 pm on the first day, 9 1/2 hours in.
The sky’s the limit: At 8 different floors, which are every multiple of 12: they are 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, and 96. We know 6 x 4 = 24 is divisible by both, but since 6 and 4 are both divisible by 2, you don’t need to multiply them together – the number 12 is divisible by both, too!
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.