Have you ever met a goat? These cute animals can chew through just about anything, which makes them perfect lawn mowers. A herd of 200 goats was doing just that, eating all the grass on a big hill behind a neighborhood. But they got bored and started looking for something else to eat, like people’s flowers and gardens. The goats ignored the people who tried to shoo them away – after all, there were 200 of them, and just a few people. But luckily they listened to one dog, who herded them all back to the hill. That’s one pup who knows how to get your goat!
Wee ones: Look at the picture. Are there more goats in that picture than there are people in your house?
Little kids: If you and the dog are chasing the last goat, how many legs do the three of you have together? Bonus: If 7 goats start munching cardboard, but 1 of those goats doesn’t have horns and the others do, how many horns do they have?
Big kids: If there were 200 goats in this herd, and 1 out of every 10 went to the grocery store instead of storming this neighborhood, how many went to the grocery store? Bonus: Some goats climb trees! If there were 6 trees with 7 goats in each tree, how many of the 200 goats stayed on the ground?
The sky’s the limit: if the herd of goats digs through the neighborhood garbage and eats twice as many apple cores as watermelon rinds and twice as many banana peels as apple cores, and they eat 140 things in total, how many of each thing do they eat?
Wee ones: Different for everyone – we count at least 9 goats in the picture!
Little kids: 10 legs. Bonus: 12 horns, since 6 goats have them.
Big kids: 20 goats. There are 20 sets of 10 in 200, so 1 goat in each of those sets of 10 makes 20 goats getting groceries. Bonus: 158 goats on the ground. 6 x 7 = 42, and 200 – 42 = 158.
The sky’s the limit: 20 watermelon rinds, 40 apple cores and 80 banana peels. If there are twice as many cores as rinds, then each rind has 2 apple core “friends,” and if there are twice as many banana peels as apple cores, then that rind and those cores also have 4 peel “friends.” That makes 7 things in each set of friends. 140 things in total fits 20 of those sets. So there are 20 rinds, and then you multiply out the rest.
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.