July may be National Ice Cream Month, but this week is National Zoo Keeper Week. What a great job: you get to hang out at the zoo every day, pet all those furry animals, and feed them without even having to stand in line. Of course, the job also has its dangers, like possibly losing your hand when you try to feed the sharks. If you imagine a typical day for a zookeeper, you see that the excitement could add up fast.
Wee ones: If the zoo has 9 monkeys, but when you show up at the monkey house you see only 6 in there, how many monkeys are on the loose?
Little kids: If the zoo has 4 lions, 6 tigers and 5 panthers, how many big cats live at the zoo? Bonus: If the big cats draw a crowd of 400 people each day, but the penguins are twice as popular, how many spectators do the penguins get?
Big kids: If the alligator can run 21 miles an hour, but the panther can run 52 miles an hour, how much faster can the panther run? Bonus: If the panther has 49 teeth but the alligator has 77 teeth, now who’s scarier – and by how many teeth?
Wee ones: 3 monkeys on the loose.
Little kids: 15 big cats. Bonus: 800 spectators.
Big kids: 31 miles an hour faster. Bonus: The alligator is 28 more teeth scarier.
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.