A Whole Town You Can Eat

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 Whole Town You Can Eat

December 12, 2014

Today is Gingerbread House Day, when we celebrate buildings you can actually eat. Gingerbread is a lot tastier than brick or plaster, and it’s a lot easier to build a house that’s 12 inches tall than 30 feet tall. In fact, chef Jon Lovitch thinks one house isn’t enough: he builds whole gingerbread towns. On this day last year he broke the world record for the largest gingerbread village, with 157 houses. And we just saw the breaking news that today he broke his own record, with a village of 1,003 gingerbread buildings. This time he used 600 pounds of gingerbread dough, 700 pounds of candy, and over 1,500 pounds of icing to glue it all together. Unlike last year’s cluster of houses, this one has a skating rink, a hotel, and even an underground subway station. Now he just needs some gingerbread people to walk around and enjoy it all.

Wee ones: If you build with gingerbread pieces cut into squares, how many sides does each piece have?

Little kids: If your gingerbread house has 4 walls plus 2 pieces for the roof, how many pieces is that?  Bonus: If you want your house to have 10 pieces so there’s leftover for friends, how many more pieces do you need to bake?

Big kids: If you make 4 wall pieces that are all different (1 has a door cut out, 1 has a window, 1 has 2 windows, and 1 is plain), in how many orders can you put the 4 walls together if the door piece is always in front?  Bonus: If a person can eat 10 pounds of gingerbread house before feeling disgustingly full, how many people will it take to eat the whole village? (Assume exactly 1,500 pounds of icing, along withe the 600 pounds of dough and the 700 pounds of candy.)




Wee ones: 4 sides.

Little kids: 6 pieces.  Bonus: 4 more pieces.

Big kids: 6 ways: you build around from the door piece with ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CAB, or CBA.  Bonus: 280 people, since the village uses 2,800 pounds of food!

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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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