This Week's Math Puzzle: Woodpecker Math

Did you ever consider what life would be like as a woodpecker? They have pretty cool beaks, but they have to work for their dinner.
By Laura Overdeck
Mar 12, 2013



Mar 12, 2013

Being a woodpecker can’t be much fun. You spend your day pounding your head against a tree, and your reward is that you get to eat bugs. What kind of life is that? The pecking is so hard on their heads that woodpeckers actually developed smaller brains than other birds, which might explain why they haven’t figured out a better way to feed themselves.

You have to admire their speed and hard work, though. According to Animals Town, woodpeckers can peck up to 20 times per second! 

Wee ones (counting on fingers/hands): If a hungry woodpecker pecks 2 holes, and scoops 6 bugs out of each hole, how many bugs does the woodpecker get to eat?

Little kids: If a woodpecker pecks a tree 20 times per second, how many times does he peck in 5 seconds?  Bonus: If a bug pops out after every 10 pecks, how many bugs pop out in those 5 seconds?

Big kids: If a woodpecker’s pecking scares out 1 bug every 5 seconds, how many bugs does he get in 1 minute (60 seconds)?  Bonus: If he keeps pecking, how many bugs does he get in 1 hour (60 minutes)?


Wee ones: 12 bugs.

Little kids: 100 pecks.  Bonus: 10 bugs.

Big kids: 12 bugs.  Bonus: 720 bugs!

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