So what’s the difference between geckos, lizards, Komodo dragons, salamanders, chameleons, and other wiggly creepers? It turns out that all but one are in the same big happy family: the lizard family. Lizards are reptiles, like snakes, alligators and turtles. They are all cold-blooded, so they have to lie in the sunshine to warm up. There are over 6,000 species (types) of lizard: some geckos and chameleons are just a few inches long, while the biggest lizard, the Komodo dragon, can be 9 to 10 feet long! Meanwhile, one slinky four-footed friend, the salamander, isn’t part of the family. It’s an amphibian, meaning it can live in the water or on land. It doesn’t have scales like the lizards, but we think it gets the last laugh.
Wee ones: Lizards have 4 feet. Who has more, you or a lizard?
Little kids: Chameleons change color to hide and also to show they’re angry. If you have 5 chameleons and 2 of them turn dark, how many of them are still happy? Bonus: How many feet do the 2 angry ones have altogether?
Big kids: If you have the longest chameleon possible — 27 inches — and it’s 9 times as long as your pet gecko, how long is the gecko? Bonus: If you also have a 10-foot pet Komodo dragon, how much longer than you is that dragon, in inches?
Wee ones: The lizard!
Little kids: 3 happy chameleons. Bonus: 8 feet.
Big kids: 3 inches. Bonus: Different for everyone…subtract your height (length) from 120 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.