This Week's Math Story: Eats Like a Bird

Even if you eat really, really big enormous meals, chances are you can&t out-eat the tiny hummingbird…
By Laura Overdeck
Mar 01, 2013

Ages

3-13


Mar 01, 2013

When we see someone eating a really small meal in teeny bites, we say that person “eats like a bird.” The thing is, unlike those dainty nibblers, birds actually eat a lot. They chow down more like the linebackers on a football team, except the birds eat more politely.

So how much do birds eat? Some eat as much food in one day as their own body weight, or even double their weight. But the winner might be the hummingbird, which can eat up to 12 times its weight in one day! Well, when you flap your wings 80 times per second trying to suck nectar out of a flower, you work up an appetite. Try flapping your arms that fast, and you might want to eat like a bird, too.

Wee ones (counting on fingers): If a bird eats 2 worms and twice as many beetles, how many snacks in total did the bird eat?

Little kids: If you tried to eat 10 times your weight in one day, how many pounds of food would that be? Bonus: If M&Ms come in half-pound bags, how many bags of M&Ms would you have to eat that day?

Big kids: An average hummingbird weighs one-sixth of an ounce, about the same as 7 little M&Ms. If the hummingbird eats 10 times its weight in one day, how many M&MS would that be? Bonus: If you weigh 5,000 times as much as that hummingbird, how many M&Ms would you have to eat to keep up?

Answers:
Wee ones: 6 bugs in total.

Little kids: Different for everyone…tack a 0 onto the end of your weight in pounds! Bonus: Double the first answer to get the number of bags.

Big kids: 70 M&Ms. Bonus: 350,000 M&Ms!

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