Rabbits and Chickens

A Maths Starter of The Day

Rabbit Chicken

A farmer has some rabbits and chickens.
Altogether they have 52 heads and 152 feet.
How many rabbits and chickens are there?


Topics: Starter | Algebra | Problem Solving | Simultaneous Equations

  • L. Mangham, Hylands School, UK
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2008
  • "Good timing! Just the starter I needed for my simultaneous equation topic. Thanks."
  • The Best Maths Class Ever 7cd/M2, King Alfred's College, Oxfordshire
  • Thursday, April 23, 2009
  • "We all tried our best to find the answer by guessing. But our teacher showed us how to use simultaneous equations to get the answer quickly. A tough question for a year 7 class."
  • M T, 8b/Ma1 Harris Academy Purley
  • Tuesday, March 2, 2010
  • "My class was just introduced to constructing and solving linear equations at the time, and I constructed a linear equation to find a solution for this starter. I let the number of rabbits be represented by x. Then 4x + 2(total heads-x)= total number of legs."
  • Simbarashe Mukumbira, Mazowe High School
  • Friday, April 22, 2011
  • "This maths stater was just the thing I wanted before I wrote my algebra test."
  • Joan Morgan, All Saints Academy Plymouth
  • Monday, April 15, 2013
  • "Excellent starter improves students thinking skills !!- Thank you."
  • Transum,
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014
  • "There are so many ways pupils could engage with this problem and possibly the most basic strategy could be one of trial and improvement. Start of by proposing that there are ten rabbits. How many chickens must there be if we know the total number of heads? What is the total number of legs if this is the case? Is that more or less than the actual number of legs? How might we change our rabbit number guess to increase or decrease the number of legs? (Increasing the number of rabbits will decrease the number of chickens and as rabbits have more legs than chickens the total number of legs will go up).
    Alternatively pupils might be at the stage where they could use a spreadsheet to quickly create columns of possible rabbit and chicken numbers with another column showing the number of legs.
    Some pupils may have learned the basics of JavaScript and could write a looping program to find the solution.
    Other pupils may need practice using their graphic display calculator to solve this problem.
    Having said all of that, there is no denying this this is a classic simultaneous equations problem that can be solved in a number of different ways."

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This starter has scored a mean of 3.6 out of 5 based on 126 votes.


Previous Day | This starter is for 23 April | Next Day

 

Answers

There are 24 rabbits and 28 chickens in the field.

Extension question: How many rabbits and chickens are in a field if the number of legs is three times the number of heads?

Note to teacher: Doing this activity once with a class helps students develop strategies. It is only when they do this activity a second time that they will have the opportunity to practise those strategies. That is when the learning is consolidated. Click the button above to regenerate another version of this starter from random numbers.


Laptops In Lessons

Teacher, do your students have access to computers?
Do they have Laptops in Lessons or iPads?

Whether your students each have a TabletPC, a Surface or a Mac, this activity lends itself to eLearning (Engaged Learning).

Laptops In Lessons

Here is the URL for a concise version of this page without comments or answers.

Transum.org/go/?Start=April23

Here is the URL which will take them to other simultaneous equations.

Transum.org/go/?to=simultaneous

 

 




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