It’s a bummer we can’t fly the way birds do. The best we can do is jump out of a plane and fall at 120 miles per hour, until the parachute opens (hopefully). Even that isn’t anywhere nearly as fast as the peregrine falcon. This bird hunts animals for dinner by doing nosedives out of the sky at more than 200 miles an hour! That makes the peregrine falcon the fastest animal on Earth. The peregrine falcon has a third eyelid on each eye that helps keep its eyeballs moist in that speedy breeze. It also has bones on its beak push air to the side so the bird can breathe while diving. So nothing can stop this hunter!
Wee ones: If a falcon catches 6 pigeons for dinner, what numbers would it say to count them?
Little kids: Who’s faster, a falcon flying at 200 miles an hour, or a car driving at 100 miles an hour? Bonus: Who has more eyelids, 3 peregrine falcons, or you and 3 friends?
Big kids: If you skydive at 120 miles an hour, how much faster can the 200-mile-an-hour falcon fly? Bonus: The falcon’s strong wings can be up to 47 inches across. If you lay across that bird, how would your length compare to that?
Wee ones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Little kids: The falcon! Bonus: The falcons. Since everybody has 2 eyes, you can count just everyone’s left eye. The falcons’ left eyes together have 9 eyelids, while you and your friends have 8.
Big kids: 80 miles an hour faster. Bonus: Different for everyone…subtract your height in inches from 47, or vice versa.
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.