Most people love to think their pet dog, cat, bird, or pot-bellied pig is very smart. And true, some animals can be very fast learners. Many have a great sense of direction for finding their way home. Turns out some animals get home the same way we do: by train! There are a few dogs in the Russian city of Moscow who know how to ride the subway. No one knows how the pups know when to get on and off at their regular stops, but somehow they do it. So if you’re ever lost on the Moscow Metro, just ask a dog which way to go — and remember to give him a bone to thank him.
Wee ones: If your dog rides the train to the city, then home, then to the city, then home…where does your dog go next?
Little kids: If 7 dogs get on the train, then 1 dog gets off, then 2 dogs get on, how many dogs are on the train now? Bonus: If 4 of those dogs bark at the train whistle, how many don’t?
Big kids: If in January 3 dogs ride the train every day, then in February there are 5 dogs in total, then in March there are 7 dogs…how many would ride in June to keep the pattern? Bonus: How many more dogs would need to join the ones riding in June for them to have 60 doggie paws in total?
Wee ones: To the city.
Little kids: 8 dogs. Bonus: 4 dogs.
Big kids: 13 dogs, since it’s 3 months later and you add 2 dogs each month. Bonus: 2 more dogs, since you need 15 dogs to have 60 paws.
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.