If you want to have a pet frog, don’t get a really colorful one. That bright, tropical-looking frog might be a poisonous dart frog. Dart frogs come from Central and South America, and you can spot them from their bright greens, pinks and yellows. They’re also called poison arrow frogs, because long-ago people took the poison from the frogs’ skin and smeared it on the tips of their arrows. Even crazier, some scientists think the frogs stay poisonous by eating special insects, who turn poisonous by eating special plants! The most poisonous dart frog has enough poison in it to kill 10,000 mice…yikes. Those bright colors warn other animals like mice not to snack on them. So if you already have other pets, this might not be the best buddy for them.
Wee ones: Dart frogs come in bright shades of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue. How many frog colors is that?
Little kids: If you get 2 frogs of each of the 5 colors, how many poisonous pets do you have? Bonus: If you buy 2 frogs, twice as many poison beetles to help them out, and 5 poison plants for the beetles, how many poisonous things do you have?
Big kids: These frogs are only about 2 1/2 inches long. If you can fit 2 of them end to end on your hand, how long is your hand? Bonus: Some frogs jump 50 times their body length! If a 2 1/2-inch dart frog could do that, how far could it jump?
Wee ones: 5 colors.
Little kids: 10 pet frogs. Bonus: 11 poisonous things (2 frogs, 4 beetles, 5 plants).
Big kids: 5 inches long. Bonus: 125 inches (over 10 feet!).
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.