You have to wonder if animals get tired of being outside all the time. After all, the weather can be cold and rainy, or hot and humid, and there’s nowhere to charge their phones. Well, one swan seems to be ready to move indoors. This fellow, nicknamed Percy, has been knocking on a (human) family’s door every day. He pecks at the door for 4 or 5 hours before giving up. What’s more, he’s been doing this every spring for the past 5 years! Maybe he’s just got the wrong address.
Wee ones: Can you knock on a door or a table 3 times? How about 5 times? 7 times? Count as you knock!
Little kids: Swans can stand 4 feet tall thanks to their long necks! If Percy is 4 feet tall and the door is twice as tall as Percy, how tall is the door? Bonus: If Percy knocks on the door for 3 hours, naps on the welcome mat for 2 hours, then knocks for another 5 hours, how many more hours does he spend knocking than napping?
Big kids: Maybe Percy is just hungry. If the humans invite Percy in for dinner, and Percy brings 17 swan friends, how many swan feet are stomping around the house? Bonus: If Percy knocked 4 hours a day all through 2020, how many hours did he knock that year? (Don’t forget a key math thing about 2020…)
Wee ones: Count out the numbers as you knock! 1, 2, 3! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7!
Little kids: The door is 8 feet tall. Bonus: 6 more hours knocking than napping: 3 + 5 = 8 hours knocking, compared to 2 hours napping. 8 – 2 = 6.
Big kids: 36 swan feet – don’t forget to count Percy’s 2 feet! Bonus: 1,464 hours!
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.