Is That a Cookie or a Cake?

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.

Is That a Cookie or a Cake?

May 22, 2017

Let’s call it what it is: this “wedding cake” is a pile of Oreos. But they’re stacked so carefully using math that the cake looks awesome when it’s done. Wedding cakes might have to feed 100 guests or even more. So the cakes often have 3 or more big “tiers,” or thick sections, with each smaller than the one below it. Usually it’s a fluffy baked cake, but this bride and groom must really love Oreos. And guess what: this dessert is super easy to make yourself! Check out the video to give it a try — and to see how fast the number of Oreos adds up.

Wee ones: What shape is an Oreo?

Little kids: If you eat 2 cookies from that crazy cake, then 2 more, then 2 more, how many have you eaten in total?  Bonus: Which has more cookies, 2 of the little 7-cookie layers, or 1 medium layer of 15?

Big kids: If each big layer uses 40 Oreos, how many cookies are in just those 4 big layers? (Hint if needed: What if each layer used just 4 cookies? And how is this different?)  Bonus: How many giant packs of 50 Oreos do you need to buy to have enough cookies for that whole tier?




Wee ones: A circle, or in 3D, a very short “cylinder” (tube shape).

Little kids: 6 cookies.  Bonus: The medium layer has more.

Big kids: 160 cookies.  Bonus: You’ll need 4 packs, since 3 packs would give you just 150 cookies.

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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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