Alpha's Adventures in Mathematics

Volume One: Chapter Two


When we last left Alpha he'd just been 'rescued' from the streets of Korea and taken into a van by two ladies. He was scared, alone and feeling completely helpless. But little did he know he was about to embark on the greatest adventure of his life!

And now... 

Chapter 2: Planning My Escape

After a short ride in the van, we arrived at a big building with a fenced in yard holding lots of dogs, many of them much bigger than me… much, much bigger. I immediately thought that all my worst fears were coming true. It was going to be the alley all over again, only this time with big fences so I couldn’t even run away.

At least in the alley I could zip away when I was being picked on. Here the only way in or out was through the main gate.

I was placed in the main outdoor area when we arrived and immediately hid in a corner. I stayed there for a long time, looking at everything around me, planning my escape.

The entrance and exit from the yard seemed locked and heavily guarded by humans. All dogs leaving and entering were escorted and had a leash. One or two dogs tried to exit without leashes but were quickly blocked and guided back into the main area.

There were also high fences all around the yard perimeter, high enough that they were impossible for even the biggest dog to jump.

To escape, I was going to need to use my super power: MATH!  

First, I measured the perimeter of the yard by counting how many steps one side was (55) and then how many steps the adjacent side was (64).

Luckily, I’d been paying attention to the school math classes so I knew that, since the yard was a rectangle, I could calculate the perimeter of the yard as 55 + 55 + 64 + 64. That equals a perimeter of 238 puppy steps (or ps for short).

Just for fun, I also calculated the area of the yard to be 55 * 63 = 3,520 ps2. 

I was then able to measure all the other things in the yard including a length of board, a sandbox, a length of rope and a ball.

From Pam

Alpha spent his first few days in the shelter making measurements of everything in there, trying to plan his escape.

The yard contained a lot of pieces he could have used (a plank, a ball, rope, the sandbox). It also contained 8 identical cages for the puppies.

Help Alpha

Alpha wants to make a plan to escape. Using the materials available in the yard can you help Alpha design a way to get out?

Here are some additional facts you can use: 

  • the height of the wall is 15ps
  • the distance from the sandbox to the top wall is 10ps

What ways can you think of to escape? If you had other materials available what would they be and how could you use them?

Send any escape plans you like to us at (with your parents permission of course) and we'll share them in our Gallery.

Try At Home

Take a look around your house (or yard if you have one) and see if you can build an escape plan of your own. Measure items around your house and see how things could be moved around to get over obstacles or walls or fences.

Make the regular exit to the space inescapable and see what other ways you could get out (a window if you're inside or a fence if you're outside) and items you could use. 

If you're on an upper floor see if you can figure out what you could build a rope with. Or if you're below ground, what could be used to climb upon. 

Be creative and think of all the ways you could escape!

But don't forget to measure everything to be sure it would work! 

Using my imagination, and math skills, I figured out how to use the various objects in the yard to make my escape.

But I realized I’d need some help to put my plan into action. Not only would I need to do calculations, I’d need bigger dogs to move objects into place and some distraction for the humans. This was going to take team work.

I decided the first, and scariest, step was to approach the other dogs and see if they’d help a pooch in need.

Hi, I'm Alpha and I'm planning a jailbreak. If you help me, I'll get you out of this prison too.

Hey Alpha, I'm Carlos and this is Henry. Why do you want to escape?

Yeah! We have everything we need here, food, warm beds, toys.

Wait, you mean you like it here?

Yeah! Of course we do. And we're only here for a little while until they find us our forever homes!

I blinked hard, trying to understand what they were saying.

"My forever home," I thought, "that couldn't be true. I was too old, almost four. People only want puppies."

So I spent the next hour or so asking the others what this place was. Apparently, it was a rescue agency dedicated to finding loving homes for Korean street dogs. Those homes were in a far away land, across the world, called Canada.

Could it really be true?  

They said that humans had been overheard saying things like “Vancouver for this one” and “Toronto is a beautiful city for hounds like this old girl.” There was even a wall of photos showing dogs happily living in their forever homes.

This news made me really excited but also a bit afraid. What if these dogs were lying to me? Or what if no one wanted a super skinny, stubby legged hotdog? I decided to delay my escape plans, just for a day or two, to see what the truth really was. Still, to be safe, I kept reminding myself of my calculations and plan.

It was getting late and it had been a long day. Calculating an escape plan was exhausting. When the shelter workers brought us all inside, dividing us into separate cages (with soft blankets and bowls of food and water), I wearily went inside and fell into a deep sleep; my mind once again slipping into dreams about what a forever home might look like.

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Learn more on our Give Alpha a Treat page...

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