# Problem of the Week Problem A and Solution Counting Kits

## Problem

Squirrels have babies twice each year, usually in March or April and again in July or August. Baby squirrels are called kits and a group of kits in one birth is called a litter.

The table below shows the number of kits a squirrel had over four years.

Month and Year of Birth Number of Kits in the Litter
March $$2020$$ $$4$$
July $$2020$$ $$8$$
April $$2021$$ $$6$$
August $$2021$$ $$3$$
March $$2022$$ $$5$$
August $$2022$$ $$4$$
April $$2023$$ $$6$$
July $$2023$$ $$4$$

What is the average (mean) number of kits the squirrel had in a litter?

## Solution

We can calculate the average by finding the total kits born and then dividing the total by the number of litters.

The total number of kits born was $$4 + 8 + 6 + 3 + 5 + 4 + 6 + 4 = 40$$.

Since there were $$8$$ litters, the average number of kits born in a litter was $$40 \div 8 = 5$$.

Calculating the average can also be thought of as a fair share problem. In this case, we want to evenly distribute $$40$$ kits over $$8$$ litters. We could arrange $$40$$ tokens so that there is an equal number of tokens in each of $$8$$ piles. We could also start with stacks of blocks representing the number of kits born in each litter. Then we move blocks, one at a time, from the higher stacks to the lower stacks until all the stacks have the same number of blocks.