Sometimes even snails like to show off their speed. Every summer those sorts of snails come together at the World Snail Racing Championship in Congham, England. The snails start in the middle of a table, and have to slime their way to a circle 13 inches out, just a little longer than a grown-up’s shoe. As we see in the video on this page, they don’t move fast, but someone has to win in the end. Still, no snail has beaten the world record of 2 minutes, set by Archie back in 1995. But since most snails can move only 3 inches per minute, these speeder snails leave the rest in the dust.
Wee ones: Who’s faster, a snail who finishes the race in 4 minutes, or one who finishes in 3 minutes?
Little kids: If one snail takes 5 hours to cross the street and another takes 9 hours, how much longer does the slower snail take? Bonus: If another snail’s time is halfway between those, how many hours does that 3rd snail take?
Big kids: Most snails move only 3 inches a minute. About how long would it take a regular snail to crawl those 13 inches? Bonus: In what year will Archie’s 1995 record have stood for 25 years?
Wee ones: The snail who takes 3 minutes, because that’s the smaller amount of time.
Little kids: 4 more hours. Bonus: 7 hours.
Big kids: About 4 minutes (actually 4 1/3 minutes, or 4 minutes 20 seconds). Bonus: In the year 2020.
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.