Maine is the only state whose name has just one syllable. Maine is also the only state that touches just one other state (New Hampshire). But our favorite thing about Maine is how much Mainers love dogs – and want to adopt them. A lady named Heather Hobby saves hundreds of dogs from the South and drives them to Maine for people who want a pet. She fits up to 40 dogs in her van. It’s a tough trip – she has to stop many times to let the dogs out to pee, poop, and pose for pictures (not all at the same time). When she shows up in Maine to give people their new pets, it’s like handing out presents. But how has she saved hundreds of dogs? The math will show us how!
Wee ones: Maine can get really chilly, and you know what? Earmuffs were invented there! Point to your own ears – how many are there? How many ears are in the room?
Little kids: If you take your new adopted pet dog for a walk, how many legs do you have all together? Bonus: Heather Hobby drives through as many as 9 states to bring her dogs to Maine. If you’re counting them down from 9 for her, what numbers do you say?
Big kids: If Heather has 35 (4-legged) dogs in the car, how many doggie paws are there? Bonus:Heather makes this trip over and over. If she makes 1 trip per month with 40 dogs each time, how many dogs can she bring to Maine in 1 year?
The sky’s the limit: When Heather drops off the dogs, if there are the same number of people as dogs in the room and there are 42 legs, how many dogs and people are there?
Wee ones: Different for everyone! Most people have 2 ears, so it will depend on the number of people in the room.
Little kids: 6 legs. Bonus: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Big kids: 140 paws. One quick way to multiply by 4 is to double the number (70) and then double it again (140). Bonus: 480 dogs! There are 12 months in a year, so she can bring 12 x 40.
The sky’s the limit: 7 people and 7 dogs. Each person has 1 dog buddy (and each dog has 1 human friend), So each person-pup set has 6 legs together. Then we just have to find how many sets of 6 go into 42. 42/6 = 7 sets.
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.