This is a classic maze: walls that run front to back and side to side, with gaps to pass through. Here the Bedtime Math guinea pigs solve it, but rats and mice can also solve a maze, too. This webpage tells pet owners how to train a mouse to run a maze using a trail of treats. Luckily we humans just get to eat our snacks off a plate.
Wee ones: Where is Snickers, the black/white/caramel guinea pig: on your left, or on your right?
Little kids: If Hershey (the brown guinea pig) takes 6 minutes to solve the maze, and Snickers (the black/white/caramel one) takes 1 minute longer, how long does Snickers take? Bonus: If they start learning the maze on a Monday, and finally learn it 4 days later, on what day do they solve the maze?
Big kids: If each row of the maze is 6 inches wide, and there are 6 rows going across, how wide is the maze? Bonus: How wide is it in feet and inches? (Reminder if needed: A foot has 12 inches.)
The sky’s the limit: If Hershey speeds up and takes 30 seconds to solve it, while Snickers takes 72 seconds, and their rat friend’s time is twice as far from Snicker’s time as Hershey’s, how fast does the rat solve it?
Wee ones: On your right.
Little kids: 7 minutes. Bonus: On Friday.
Big kids: 36 inches. Bonus: Exactly 3 feet.
The sky’s the limit: 44 seconds. Hershey and Snickers are 42 seconds apart, and if the rat’s time gap from Snickers is double the gap from Hershey, we need to divide that 42 into 3 parts. 1/3 of 42 is 14, so the rat is 14 seconds from Hershey, and 28 seconds from Snickers. By the way, the rat’s time has to be less than Snickers…there’s no time longer than Snickers’ that can be twice as far from Snickers as from Hershey, because the gap from Hershey would always be bigger.
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.