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Hexagons in nature and a Turtle question

February 26, 2017

I’m sure you’re familiar with the good old honey bees and their hexagonal structures. After a trip to the living rainforest, I found out that it seems that bees aren’t the only creatures that like their hexagons!

This tortoise has irregular hexagons on its shell. (Fun fact – tortoises shells aren’t watertight. If they get in deep water, they fill up and will sink. Tortoises are not turtles.)

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This lovely carpet python and lizard both have hexagonal skin! (I was disappointed that the python wasn’t 3.14 metres long.)

As I was looking at the turtles, I was struck by these numbers and their potential for a maths class.

Somewhat frighteningly, 17.4 tonnes of live turtles are shipped from Vietnam to China every day. If the turtles are 2kg each, how many is that? How many of our classrooms would this many turtles fill up? Would it fill the school hall? How many of them is this in a year?

What assumptions are we making in modelling these?

Is 17.4 tonnes a day plausible? How many turtles are there in the world?

It can be (legitimately) that they are given very little space and ‘we’ aren’t concerned about their comfort levels.


From → Maths

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