Eye-Popping Pancakes

Eye-Popping Pancakes

October 14, 2019

Do you love pancakes? Those stacks of fluffy, syrupy circles are the best breakfast ever. Artist Nathan Shields loves pancakes, too: his pancakes are pictures. By squirting 2 colors of batter on the pan to draw, he cooks it into a design that shows up once the pancake flips over. He draws animals, flowers, and faces from the Harry Potter movies. He also invented Spirocakes, which are loopy, spirally, math-y flapjack. Now we can wolf down storks, swans and turtles with our syrup.

Wee ones: If the pancake man uses white batter, wheat batter and cocoa-powder batter, how many colors can he cook into his pancake?

Little kids: If Nathan serves you 10 pancakes and the penguin and duck are the only birds, how many pancakes aren’t birds?  Bonus: If 1/2 the remaining pancakes are animals, how many pancakes are not animals?

Big kids: If the photo shows 5 rows of 4 pancakes each, how many pancakes do you see? Try to figure it out without counting one by one!  Bonus: If Nathan can make 11 pancakes from 6 cups of batter, how many can he make from 12 cups?




Wee ones: 3 colors.

Little kids: 8 pancakes.  Bonus: 4 pancakes.

Big kids: 20 pancakes.  Bonus: 22 pancakes, since he has doubled the batter.

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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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