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This Week From Bedtime Math: Dog-Tired? Take the Train.

Some pooches really know how to get around town – and can even take a nap while they do it!
on September 24, 2013

What is Bedtime Math? A message from Laura: Bedtime Math is a pretty simple idea: We all know we should read to our kids at night, but what about math? My husband and I have done fun, mischief-loaded math problems with our kids at night for years, and when at age 2 our third child started hollering for his own math problem, we realized we were onto something:  In a world where so many people say, "Ewww, math!" we had created a household culture where kids don't just tolerate math, they actually seek it out. Now we email parents a fun, lively math problem every day to do with their kids – and every week, we'll be posting a new problem right here on Scholastic Parents!

Most pet-owners are quick to tell you their dog or cat or bird or pot-bellied pig is very smart. They're usually right, too – animals can be incredibly quick learners, and many have a great sense of direction for finding their way home. Even more interesting, some animals learn to travel like people to get places: There are a few dogs in the Russian city of Moscow who know how to ride the train! No one is sure exactly how the pups know when to get on and off at their regular stops, but somehow they do it.  So if you're ever lost on the Moscow Metro, a canine could point you the right way. Just remember to throw that dog a bone for the ride.

Now that you've got your bearings, see if your kids can solve these dog-inspired math challenges:

Wee ones: If your dog wants to ride 3 miles from the center of town, and then switches trains and rides another 2 miles, how many miles will your dog ride in total?

Little kids: If there are 15 open seats on the train car, and 9 dogs get on and take seats as if they're people, how many open seats are left?  Bonus: If the dogs wait 14 minutes for the train, then take 3 minutes to get on, and then take a 6-minute ride, how long does their whole trip take?

Big kids: The dogs can wait 19 minutes for the speedy Express train or just 13 minutes for the slower Local – but the Express takes 22 minutes to arrive at their station while the Local takes 31. Which one will get the dogs home earlier, and by how many minutes?  Bonus: A dog waits 8 minutes for her train and the ride home normally takes 3 times as long as that.  If the train then drives at 1/2 its normal speed, how long in total till the dog gets home?

Wee ones: 5 miles.
Little kids: 6 remaining seats.  Bonus: 23 minutes.
Big kids: The Express will arrive 3 minutes earlier – in 41 minutes vs. 44.  Bonus: 56 minutes, because the ride now takes 48 minutes instead of 24 (plus the 8-minute wait).