Usually when we ride around on wheels, either we’re doing the work, like on a bike or skateboard, or the vehicle does the work, like a car. But there’s a 3rd choice: have animals do the work. Bedtime Math fan Symone B. went to Alaska and got to see huskies pull dogsleds in Denali National Park. No vehicles with motors are allowed there, so they use huskies to carry people, food and other supplies around the park. Huskies luuuuuv to work hard, and actually jump and romp around when it’s time to hook up to the sled — they find it that exciting. Dogsled teams can run up to 150 miles a day for up to 17 days in a row! Symone’s sled carried 500 pounds of people and other stuff, and the dogs easily pulled it at 25 miles per hour, as fast as that car. We hope those huskies enjoyed a nice big dinner after that.
Wee ones: If you and 6 dogs go riding, how many animals is that in total?
Little kids: If 5 100-pound kids load onto a sled, what numbers do you say to count up the weight as they get on? Bonus: If 7 dogs pull your sled, 1 lead dog will pull in front, followed by the rest of the dogs in 2 equal lines. How many dogs are in each line?
Big kids: Symone points out that 1 year for us is like 7 years for a dog. How many dog days are 4 people days? Bonus: If the dogs start running on a Friday, and run 17 days total, on which day of the week would be their 17th day? (Remember to count Friday as their 1st day!)
Wee ones: 7 animals.
Little kids: 100, 200, 300, 400, 500. Bonus: 3 in each line, to make 6 following the lead dog.
Big kids: 28 days. Bonus: On a Sunday.
And thank you Symone for the beautiful dog pictures you took!
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.