Get Your Goat (Tower)

by Derek Stump

Have you ever met a goat? These farm animals have a couple of superpowers. For one, they can eat almost any food – even some things we people wouldn’t call food, like rose bushes. Also, they can climb almost anything. That’s why some farmers build goat towers, like you see in these pictures. The first goat tower was built in Portugal more than 100 years ago, but it took until 1981 for someone to build a second one. Since then, these animal playgrounds have popped up all over the world, like at a petting zoo in Wisconsin and even in (ok fine, outside of) a restaurant in Tennessee! Goats know how to take it up a level.   


Wee ones: Can you count the goats in each picture? Which picture has more goats: the daytime picture or the nighttime picture? 


Little kids: You’re trying to build a goat tower, but the goats keep eating the wood steps! If you build 8 steps before your lunch break, and come back to find only 5 steps, how many steps must the goats have eaten? Bonus: If you then build 7 more steps and the goats eat 4, and you build 5 more, and the goats eat 4 again, how many steps do you have now? 


Big kids: Goats are really fast: they run 50 miles an hour! If you can ride your bike 15 miles an hour, in 2 hours how much farther does the goat travel? Bonus: The goat tower on the left is in Findlay, Illinois, which is 843 miles from Bedtime Math headquarters. If a goat runs 50 miles per hour straight through, about how many hours would it take the goat to get from the tower to Bedtime Math? See if you can estimate (come up with a rough quick answer)!   

Answers:

Wee ones: We count 4 goats in the daytime picture and 3 goats in the nighttime picture. 


Little kids: 3 steps. Bonus: 9 surviving steps. You’ve added 12 steps to your 5, but the goats have eaten 8. 


Big kids: 70 miles farther. The goat travels 100 miles (2 hours x 50 each) while you travel just 30 miles (2 hours x 15). Bonus: About 17 hours, since 850 / 50 = 17.

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