This Week From Bedtime Math: Don't Judge a Frog by Its Cover

Things aren&t always what they seem. Some of nature&s most colorful creatures hide dark secrets. Hop along to today&s math challenge to learn more.
By Laura Overdeck
Jul 16, 2013



This Week From Bedtime Math: Don't Judge a Frog by Its Cover

Jul 16, 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!

If you're thinking of getting a frog as a pet -- or you have a frog that needs a friend -- don't go looking for a really colorful one. That bright, tropical-looking frog might be a poisonous dart frog. Dart frogs come from Central and South America and are usually brightly colored. Also called poison arrow frogs, they got these names because long-ago natives of these continents used the frogs' toxic liquids, which are held in their colorful skin, to poison the tips of their weapons. The most poisonous type of dart frog has enough toxin to kill 10,000 mice…yikes. Those bright colors warn other animals like mice not to eat them -- and even if you yourself like frogs' legs as a dish, you won't want to eat these critters, either.

Now that we've got your attention, try challenging your kids with these frog-inspired math problems:

Wee ones: If 1 dart frog has 4 spots on its head, and another has 6, which frog has more spots on its head?

Little kids: Some scientists think that frogs stay poisonous by eating certain insects, who stay poisonous by eating certain plants. If a frog eats 10 insects and ½ of them add to the frogs' toxins, how many poison-boosting insects did it eat?  Bonus: These frogs especially like spiders (which are not insects) and ants. If a frog eats 5 spiders and twice as many ants, how many creepy crawlies did it eat in total?

Big kids: These frogs are at most about 2½ inches long. If you can fit 2 of them end to end on your hand, how long is your hand?  Bonus: Some frogs jump 50 times their body length! If a 2½-inch dart frog could do that, how far could it jump?


Wee ones: The frog with 6 spots on its head.
Little kids: 5 poison-boosting insects.  Bonus: 15 critters in total (5 + 10).
Big kids: 5 inches long.  Bonus: 125 inches (over 10 feet!).

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