When Your Dinner Comes on Skates

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.

When Your Dinner Comes on Skates

December 22, 2014

Waiters in restaurants have a really hard job. They have to ask what you want to eat, tell all of that to the chef, then hurry to bring you your meal on a giant tray of plates and glasses without dropping it all. Can you imagine doing all that while ice skating? That’s what’s happening in this picture. It shows waiters at the Grand Hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland skating to bring drinks to hotel guests. The photo was taken back in 1925, which was so long ago that cameras couldn’t even take color pictures: photos were always black and white. Notice how the waiter is skating so gracefully with one leg up, all while balancing that tray of drinks. Hopefully the lady in the photo helped out by skating over to take hers from him.

Wee ones: How many skates are those 2 people wearing in total? You can count, or add!

Little kids: If the waiter skated out carrying 3 cold drinks, 3 cups of coffee and a pitcher of milk on that tray, how many items was he carrying?  Bonus: If the skating lady and another friend each took 1 drink off his tray, how many items did he have left to balance?

Big kids: If a waiter can walk from the kitchen to a table in 30 seconds but skate there in just 10 seconds, how much faster can he skate a round trip (there and back) than walking it?  Bonus: If a new ice-skating waiter makes 24 trips in an afternoon, and slips and drops everything 1/3 of those times, how many spills does he have?




Wee ones: 4 skates.

Little kids: 7 items.  Bonus: 5 items.

Big kids: 40 seconds faster, since he saves 20 seconds on each trip.  Bonus: 8 spills.

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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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