If you like teddy bears, you might have a koala among your stuffed animal friends. The funny thing is, koalas aren’t bears. These fluffy-eared furballs are “marsupials,” meaning they’re more like kangaroos than bears. They carry their brand new babies in a pouch on their tummy. Baby koalas are even called joeys just like baby kangaroos. Koala joeys start life with almost no fur, and live in that pouch for 26 weeks before even poking out to look around. Finally they climb out and start eating koalas’ favorite food, tree leaves. Climbing those trees must be hard work: even as grown-up furballs, koalas sleep 20 hours a day!
Wee ones: Find a piece of clothing with pockets, and count them. How many pockets does it have?
Little kids: If a mama koala is carrying 5 joeys, how many koalas is that all together? Bonus: Koalas sleep 20 hours a day! Out of a 24-hour day, how much time are they awake?
Big kids: 26 weeks is the same as 6 months. If a koala is born in March, in what month does it finally crawl out of mom’s pouch? Bonus: A full-grown koala can weigh up to 33 pounds – a heavy furry friend to lug around! How much more (or less) do you weigh?
The sky’s the limit: A grown-up koala eats about 2 1/2 pounds of leaves each day. How much does it eat in a 30-day month? (Hint for those new to fractions: how much does it eat in 2 days? And how many 2-day sets are in a month?)
Wee ones: Different for everyone…a pair of pants might have just 2 pockets, or 4, or maybe more!
Little kids: 6 koalas. Bonus: Just 4 hours.
Big kids: In September. Bonus: Different for everyone…subtract 33 from your weight in pounds, or subtract your weight from 33 if you’re a little tyke.
The sky’s the limit: 75 pounds, since they eat 15 2-day sets of 5 pounds.
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.