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Problem of the Week
Problem A and Solution
Counting Kits


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?


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.