Our fan Jordan F. asked us, how many penguins are there in the world? (along with sending a great picture!) There are many “species” or types of these funny, waddling birds, and scientists have counted up some of them by taking pictures from way up in space. There are about 8 million chinstrap penguins, who really look like they have a chinstrap, and about 8 million adelie penguins. Then throw in 4 1/2 million king penguins, and almost 1 million emperor penguins. Magellanic penguins, named after the explorer Magellan, number around 3 1/2 million, and southern rockhopper penguins with their funny feathery heads add another 2 million. The 18 million macaroni penguins almost outnumber them all! When you add in other species, it comes to around 48 million birds…and lots of cute baby penguin chicks each year.
Wee ones: Many penguins have white tummies and black backs. Lie on the floor face down. Now roll halfway so you face up. Roll halfway 2 more times. Which way are you facing?
Little kids: If we have 4 mama chinstrap penguins and each lays 1 egg, once the eggs hatch how many penguins do we have? Bonus: If you add in their 4 dads, now how many penguins is that?
Big kids: If you add up just the 4 1/2 million king penguins and 3 1/2 million Magellanic penguins, how many penguins is that? Bonus: Can you “spell” 48 million as a number, using digits?
The sky’s the limit: If you pick a few pet penguins, and you have twice as many king penguins as rockhoppers, twice as many emperors as kings, and 28 penguins in total, how many king penguins do you have?
Wee ones: Up, since you’ll face up-down-up.
Little kids: 8 penguins. Bonus: 12 penguins.
Big kids: 8 million penguins. The 4 + 3 give you 7, and the 1/2 + 1/2 give you another 1 million. Bonus: 48,000,000.
The sky’s the limit: 8 king penguins. If you have 2 kings and 4 emperors for each rockhopper, that makes a set of 7. Together 4 of those sets make 28 penguins total, and 4 sets will have 4 x 2 or 8 king penguins.
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.