A “Tree” You Can Pop in Your Mouth

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

A “Tree” You Can Pop in Your Mouth

July 26, 2015

As we’ve talked about before, fruits and vegetables can grow in weird colors you wouldn’t expect, like white carrots or red corn. Then there are veggies that look weird in any color – like cauliflower. The pieces look like mini tree trunks covered with little bump-shaped flowers called florets. As a clump, that’s called the curd. Cauliflower is usually a yellowish-white, unlike its more colorful green friend, broccoli. But as Bedtime Math fan Sophia L. has pointed out, cauliflower can also be purple — or even green or orange! As we see here, it’s also packed with almost half the Vitamin C you should eat each day. And it really is a tasty treat: they say orange cauliflower tastes milder and sweeter than white, and that purple is the most nutritious of the colors. We won’t make anyone count all those bumps, but you can count on cauliflower tasting tastier than you’d think.

Wee ones: If cauliflower can be white, orange, purple or green, how many colors is that?

Little kids: If you’re served 9 bites of cauliflower, and you’ve eaten 2 but snuck 2 more into your napkin, how many are left on the plate?  Bonus: If you eat 2 orange bites, then a green, then a purple, then 2 orange again to repeat, what color do you eat on the 8th bite?

Big kids: How many 2-pound heads of cauliflower would we have to stack to weigh as much as you?  Bonus: If you take twice as many bites of green cauliflower as purple, and twice as many orange as green, how many do you eat of each if you eat 14 in total?

The sky’s the limit: If you have 28 pieces on your plate, 1/2 green and 1/2 white, and there are 4 more broccoli pieces than green cauliflower pieces, how many pieces of cauliflower do you have? (All the white ones are cauliflower – no white broccoli!)




Wee ones: 4 colors.

Little kids: 5 bites, since you “disappeared” 4 of them.  Bonus: Purple, since the bites come in sets of 4 and purple is last.

Big kids: Different for everyone…divide your weight in pounds by 2 (and you can round to an even number to simplify).  Bonus: You eat 2 purple, 4 green and 8 orange. For each purple you eat 2 green and 4 orange, so they come in sets of 7, and 14 contains 2 of those sets.

The sky’s the limit: 19 cauliflower. The 14 white pieces are all cauliflower, and of the 14 green pieces, there must be 9 broccoli and 5 cauliflower. You can use algebra to solve that: there are c cauliflower pieces and c+4 broccoli, so:
c + c + 4 = 14
2c + 4 = 14
2c = 10
c = 5

And thank you again Sophia for this idea for a math problem!

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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