Speed Eating

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.

Speed Eating

July 14, 2016

When we eat our food, it’s best not to race through it, or you might get in trouble. Plus food tastes better when we take our time to enjoy it. But some crazy people don’t agree. There’s a whole set of folks who hold world records for speed-eating, reaching some gut-busting numbers. Our friend and fan Anthony N. asked, how fast can you eat 20 burgers? Well, in 2014 Takeru Kobayashi of Japan ate a record number in just 3 minutes: he ate 12 burgers. They were quarter-pounders, and he was allowed to put mayonnaise on them to help them go down. We can now do the math: 12 burgers in 3 minutes is the same as 4 burgers each minute. So to eat 5 times as many – 20 burgers – would take 5 minutes if he could keep up the pace. Meanwhile, Joey Chestnut, the hot-dog-eating champ from the Nathan’s 4th of July contest, holds a different record: 108 burgers in 8 minutes. That works out to be even faster – and way more filling.

Wee ones: If you eat a burger, then a hot dog, then a burger, then a hot dog, what do you guess you eat next?

Little kids: If you eat a burger, then a hot dog, then a burger to repeat the pattern, what’s the 8th food you eat?  Bonus: If you try to eat 20 burgers but fall 1 short, how many do you eat?

Big kids: Who would eat more items per minute, Joey eating 10 hot dogs in 2 minutes, or Takeru eating 16 burgers in 4 minutes?  Bonus: If Joey ate 108 burgers in 8 minutes, how many could he eat in 2 minutes if he kept the same speed? (Hint if needed: To divide by 4, which is 2 x 2, you can cut in half and then cut in half again.)

The sky’s the limit: If Takeru kept eating 12 burgers every 3 minutes, how many could he eat during an hour and a half dinner?




Wee ones: A burger.

Little kids: A hot dog.  Bonus: 19 burgers.

Big kids: Joey would eat more, since he ate 5 hot dogs per minute vs. Takeru’s 4 burgers per minute.  Bonus: 27 burgers.

The sky’s the limit: 360 burgers, since 12 burgers every 3 minutes is the same as 4 per minute.

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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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