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Give Me a High Five — or Fifty

by Laura Overdeck

It’s a lot easier to have legs in pairs. That way you won’t fall over when you walk. We humans have 2 legs, and so do all birds. Mammals like bears and bunnies have 4 legs. All bugs have 6 legs. Spiders and octopus have 8. The one odd man out is the starfish. Most of these prickly, scratchy ocean friends have 5 legs. But there are over 1,800 types of starfish, or “species,” and they don’t have to have just 5 legs — they can have up to 50! Even with all those legs, if a starfish loses one, it can just grow a new leg through regeneration. When you start with 40 or 50 legs, do you even care if you’re missing one? But it looks like these guys keep count.

Wee ones: Hold up 5 fingers to pretend your hand is a starfish!

Little kids: If you have a 5-legged starfish, a 12-legged starfish, and an 8-legged starfish, which one has the most legs?  Bonus: Which 2 starfish have 13 legs together?

Big kids: If you have a pile of pet starfish with either 5 or 8 legs, how many of each type must you have if they have 26 legs all together?  Bonus: If you stick 50 pet starfish on your 4 bedroom walls to decorate, can you put the same number of stars on every wall? If not, how many leftover starfish do you have? (Assume each star touches only 1 wall.)










Wee ones: See if you can hold up 5 fingers!

Little kids: The 12-legged starfish.  Bonus: The 5-legged star and the 8-legged star.

Big kids: Two of the 5-legged ones (10 legs between them) and two of the 8-legged ones (16 legs between them).  Bonus: Not quite – you’ll have 12 on each wall, with 2 starfish left over.

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