Do you like stuffed animals? What kinds do you have — maybe a teddy bear, or a furry dog, or a cute bunny? Toy stuffed animals are fun because they can be any color we want: orange bunnies, blue turtles, whatever. But have you ever wondered what it would be like if your stuffed animals all suddenly became real animals? Some would actually be smaller, like your stuffed animal ladybugs and frogs. But some would grow to be huge. How much bigger would they be in total, and would they all fit in your room? Let’s run the numbers to see what it would be like to stuff them all in with you…never mind feeding them all.
Wee ones: Who has more legs, your 4-legged purple bunny or your 6-legged blue ladybug?
Little kids: Take a look at your stuffed animals. How many would become bigger if they turned real, and how many would shrink? Bonus: If your stuffed animal giraffe turned real, it would stand 18 feet tall! If your ceiling is 10 feet too short for that, how high is your ceiling?
Big kids: Black bears can stand up to 79 inches tall. If your teddy bear is 8 inches tall, how much taller would the real thing be? Bonus: If you have 3 stuffed animal bears, and as real animals they’d each eat 40 pounds of food a day, how much food would you need to feed them every day?
Wee ones: The ladybug has more legs.
Little kids: Different for everyone…see what kinds of animals you have! Bonus: 8 feet high.
Big kids: 71 inches. Bonus: 120 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.