From Dinosaur to French Fry

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.

From Dinosaur to French Fry

October 11, 2016

fan-picture-from-parker-and-kenley-m-potato-shape-closeupsWhen you think of a potato, you probably picture a brown, boring lump. But not all potatoes look like that. Just ask our fans Parker and Kenley M. Their family farm grows thousands of potatoes, and as you see here, some of those lumps grow into really great shapes like hearts, hands, ducks and dinosaurs. Since the kids see potatoes all day and night, they asked us, how many potatoes would it take to feed the world? Well, mashed potato recipes tell us to cook 1/2 pound of potato per person, which works out to be 1 potato each. So 8 billion people need 8 billion potatoes for that one meal. Turns out that we each eat about 69 pounds of potatoes each year…the question is, how many of those look like ducks?

Wee ones: When you slice through a normal-shaped potato (or look at it from the end), what shape do you see?

Little kids: Potatoes can be brown, red, or golden. If you have 2 potatoes of each color, how many potatoes do you have?  Bonus: If 2 of those potatoes are dinosaur-shaped, how many aren’t?

Big kids: If a regular potato weighs 1/2 pound, a duck-shaped potato weighs twice as much, and a dinosaur-shaped potato weighs twice as much as the duck, what do all 3 weigh together?  Bonus: If you eat 2 potatoes each week, and every 6th potato starting with the 6th is duck-shaped, in what week will you eat your 3rd duck?

The sky’s the limit: If each of the world’s 8 billion people eats 69 pounds of potatoes this year, how many pounds is that – and how many potatoes? (Trick for multiplying: 8 is 2 x 2 x 2, so you can just double the number 3 times! Another trick: what if it were 70 pounds a year, and how different would that be?)

 

 

 

Answers:
Wee ones: A circle.

Little kids: 6 potatoes.  Bonus: 4 potatoes.

Big kids: 3 1/2 pounds.  Bonus: The 9th week.

The sky’s the limit: 552 billion pounds. That’s 8 (billion) less than 560 (billion) pounds, which would be 70 pounds per person.

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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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