Thursday, March 06, 2008

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader **Updated with Answer at Bottom**

Here's a word puzzle sent to me by a friend last week. It took a bit but was able to figure it out. It's not a trick question even. If you're up to the challenge give it a try and post your answer in the comments section or email it to me. I'll update this post on Sunday evening with the answer. Have fun!


This is not a trick question. This is a real math problem so don't say that
a bus has no legs. And there is no driver. Read carefully!

There are 7 girls in a bus

Each girl has 7 backpacks

In each backpack, there are 7 big cats

For every big cat there are 7 little cats.

Question: How many legs are there in the bus????


As usual, I don't do things the way most people do so to figure out the answer I needed to work from the end of the problem back to the beginning.

For each big cat there are 7 smaller cats:
(7+1) x 4 = 32 legs

Each backpack has 7 big cats:
7 x 32 = 224 legs in each backpack

Each girl has 7 backpacks:
7 x 224 = 1,568 cat legs per girl

7 girls x 7 backpacks:
1,568 x 7 = 10,976 cat legs in total

7 girls, each with 2 legs = 14 legs

14 + 10, 976 = 10,990 legs on the bus!!!

Thanks to all who particpated in the fun!


  1. 238? How much time do you have to solve this... I had to re-do twice after thinking....... too taxing this early in the morning!!

    Alyson LID 01/27/06

  2. I know....this question just kinda grabbed me. I'd try it, get frustrated, try to walk away and then find myself sitting down again within moments and trying again.

    The correct answer has yet to have been given.

  3. 10,990 IF you don't count the bus driver. 10,992 if you count the driver, who by the way SHOULD be on the bus with 7 "little" girls.. LOL :::wink:::

  4. I got 1582 but I am sure that is wrong...too brain dead this morning to work on it more...duh!

    Keep smilin!

  5. It took a couple tries but I get 10,990.

  6. Hi Cathy,
    Well...assuming each girl has 2 legs!!!....I'm going to guess 14. The riddle never indicates that the rest of the stuff is actually ON the bus! I smarter than a 5th grader???

  7. I am guessing 1582... if there in no bus driver...
    I must caution you that this is my first day off for March Break!

  8. the bus driver an octopus? Wait, I guess those would be tentacles, not legs. Maybe one of the girls is an octopus. This riddle is hard....

  9. If at first you don't suceed, try, try again...and I SHOULD be cleaning!!!
    1386??? or 1388 if there is a bus driver???

  10. FINAL answer!!!

    If it is just a straight math question....the answer (assuming no bus driver) is 10990. If there is a busy driver - 10992.

  11. I'm getting 1582. Dying to know the answer!!!

  12. I get 10,990 legs - final answer.

    ** I do think it's a wee bit inhumane to put cats in backpacks . . . . & on buses ;-) **

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. 10,990- from my sis in Texas, the math teacher :)

    she even worked the problem out and showed me (couldn't believe the obvious i missed).

    Now if there really IS a bus driver, it'd be 10992...

  15. Dear Anonymous, I'm sorry that I deleted your comment but a lot of people are enjoying trying this puzzle and many different answers are here as you can see. Some people have the right one and others are enjoying taking a couple of attempts to figure it out. I will post the correct answer on Sunday evening.

    Until then...have fun everyone!

  16. 10,990 is my answer too! (It did take me a little bit, though) Good fun!

  17. Dear Catherine,
    No problem about removing my posting...I only provided the breakdown for the fun of the detail of the equation...I did not mean to take away anyone's enjoyment by doing sorry if it was taken the wrong way.

  18. I am getting 10990, but I am a math idiot so I am betting it is wrong.

  19. I'm not getting close enough to look ;0)

    Translation...I'm too lazy to do the math!

  20. 10,990...

    (Aly forgot there are 7 backpacks)


  21. It is Sunday and my brain does not work on Sundays - LOL!

  22. Hey you... apparently I can add and multiply well... I just can't READ well on the March Break... We missed the "each girl had 7 backpacks" part. However, we did solve it this morning before readding the answer on the blog...
    Jules and Danny


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