Challenge K-3/Ages 5-8

AwardPresented to MathWorld Interactive by Group #17 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USAAward

A. What we know: We were trying to find out what our favorite pets are.  We know that people own pets. B. What are our assumptions: We assumed we would get results back from our survey. We assumed that the three most popular pets, would be the ones that got the most votes. We assumed that the most unpopular pets, would be the ones that got the least votes. C. What we did: We made up a survey. The survey asked: What your favorite pet is? What pets you owned? If that was your favorite pet? We gave the survey to all of the students of the Miller Avenue school. We gave out about 400 surveys. We got back 222 surveys.  We sorted the surveys into groups. We counted how many there were in each group. We rejected 36 surveys because they didn’t make any sense, or they had more than one favorite. We typed the results on a spreadsheet. After that we graphed them. Here’s the results: anoles 1 birds 6 fish 3 crayfish 2 bull 1 frog 1 elephant 1 ferrets 1 gorilla 1 guinea pig 4 hermit crab 1 horse 1 jaguar 1 lizard 4 mice 2 monkey 1 hamster 6 hedgehog 1 pet rock 0 praying mantis 1 rabbit 4 snake 2 turtles 7 dogs 99 cats 29 none 6 D. What we found out: The three most popular pets are dog, cat, & turtle If we were running a pet store we would sell food for dogs, cats, turtles, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, lizards, rabbits and fish. The reason is that they are the most popular pets.  The most unpopular pet to own is a pet rock, because if you start playing with it you could get hurt, it’s not living and it is no fun at all.  I own two pets, both are cats, male and female. They are one of the popular pets.  E. What do you do next: Do a follow-up survey to determine why people have those kinds of pets.



Presented to MathWorld Interactive by Group #17 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

1. We began the case of the most popular pet with a meeting of all the pet detectives. We made a list of all the animals we could think of that could be pets. We also left a blank line for people to write a pet in if we forgot to name it. Then we made a list of the 7 continents of the world. We crossed Anartica off because it is too cold for people to live there.

2. We decided to ask people to name their favorite pet and tell what continent they were from to find out what pet was the most popular in all the world. We typed our questions into the personal publisher program and made a web page at We put our survey questions on our page with our e-mail address. We got many responses and we loved to hear "You have mail!". We worked in pairs. One person read the email and the other person wrote down the animal and the continent on our case clues sheet.

3. Our mail was slow, so we decided to print out the survey questions and pass them out to the students in our school. We used our pairs to record the answers from our friends. We went to a keypal page and sent letters to people from other schools in other continents to ask them our questions. We made some new friends and got some answers! Then we asked our teacher to ask her friends on-line to visit our page. We ended up with 214 different people taking our survey.

4. Each of us took a case clues sheet and tallied the number of each animal on it. Dogs had 77 votes and cats were second with 70 votes. Fish got 15 votes. Snakes had 12 votes. 11 people picked rabbits. Ten people voted for gerbils. Lizards had 7 votes and birds had 6 votes. Turtles had 3 votes and horse, duck and alligator each had 1 vote. We made a bar graph to show the votes and put it up on htpp:// Then we tallied to see which animal got the most votes from each continent. Dogs got the most votes in North America and Australia. Cats got the most votes in Europe, Africa, and South America. Fish got the most votes in Asia.

5. We decided that fish were most popular in Asia because they are small and do not eat much. Asia has lots of people and sometimes there is not enough food for all the people, so they can not have pets like dogs and cats that need lots of food. Dogs were the most popular pet if we took the total number of votes. But if we looked at the animal that was the first choice of most continents, cats were the most popular pet. We had to think of a fair way to decide which answer was most correct. We decided to count the number of votes each animal got to take first place in the continent. Dogs had 47 votes in North America and 12 votes in Australia for a total of 59 first place votes. Cats had 9 votes in South America, 11 votes in Europe, and 5 votes in Africa for a total of 25 first place votes. Since dogs had more first place votes and also the greatest total number of votes, DOGS are the most popular pets in the world.

6. We talked about opening a pet store and using our survey to decide what supplies to sell in the store. The dog and cat supplies would be the biggest section in our store since they are the most popular pets. We would also sell bird, snake, gerbil, fish and rabbit supplies becuase they were also favorite pets of many people. We would not sell horse, duck, alligator or turtle supplies though. Not too many people liked these pets so the supplies may not sell very well. After looking at the continents and our clues, we decided that North America may be the best place to open our pet store. North America had the biggest variety of pets, so we could sell many different things. Asia would be the worst place to open a pet store since fish do not eat much. We did start to wonder which pets cost the most to keep and how many pets do most families have? We all had at least one pet and many of us had 2 pets. There are many more cases for the Pet Detectives!

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