Mountain of Ice Cream — for Real

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.

Mountain of Ice Cream — for Real

June 30, 2017

When you’re making an ice cream cone, can you ever have too many scoops? Of course not! But how tall would that super-tall cone stand? Our fan Nate N. is thinking even bigger: he asked us, how many scoops of ice cream would it take to have an ice cream cone as tall as Mt. Everest? (and we’re loving his 26-scoop ice cream artwork as a start). To figure this out, we need the height of Mount Everest, which is 29,029 feet, and the height of each scoop. Scoopers can make 2-inch or 3-inch balls, giving us between 4 and 6 scoops per foot of height. If we call it 5 scoops, we’d need almost 150,000 scoops of ice cream! And it would taste even better if every scoop were its own flavor.

Wee ones: Find 1 ball-shaped item in your room. Do you think it’s bigger or smaller than a scoop of ice cream?

Little kids: If you’ve piled 8 scoops of ice cream onto your cone, how many scoops did you scoop before it?  Bonus: If you’ve scooped 50 feet of ice cream so far, how would you count up those feet by 10s?

Big kids: If you stack up 80 scoops on a cone, and every 4th one starting with the 4th is chocolate, how many chocolate scoops do you have?  Bonus: If you eat your way from the top to the bottom, how many non-chocolate scoops have you eaten by the time you reach your 9th chocolate scoop?

 

 

 

Answers:
Wee ones: Items might include bouncy balls, marbles, beach balls, or balls for sports (tennis, soccer, baseball).

Little kids: 7 scoops.  Bonus: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50.

Big kids: 20 scoops.  Bonus: 24 scoops. Eating your way down, the top scoop is chocolate (since it was the 80th one stacked up). That’s your 1st chocolate scoop, and it’s followed by 3 non-chocolate scoops. So by the time you reach your 9th chocolate scoop, you’ve eaten 8 sets of 3 non-chocolates.

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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 while still in diapers, 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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