Berries on the Run

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.

Berries on the Run

November 22, 2014

When you buy a banana, zucchini or tomato at the grocery store, it just pops from the shelf into your shopping bag. But that fruit or veggie may have already traveled thousands of miles to reach you! To find out how far, two National Geographic reporters decided to follow one box of strawberries from the time it was picked to the time it was bought in a store. On May 5, 590 trucks were loaded up at Driscoll’s, a giant berry farm in Watsonville, CA. Each little box we buy holds 1 pound of berries; with 8 boxes in a case, 108 cases on a “pallet” (flat wooden square), and 26 pallets on a truck, that means the trucks took away 20 million berries that day. The Nat Geo guys followed one truck headed to Washington, DC, driven by 2 drivers who took turns sleeping. They made stops all along the way, with the last boxes reaching DC in just 80 hours. So remember, that strawberry you’re nibbling on has had some exciting travels.

Wee ones: If you nibble on 6 strawberries, then just have to eat 1 more, how many have you had?

Little kids: Which has traveled farther, a tomato from 800 miles away, or a banana from 1,000 miles away?  Bonus: If 1 truck driver sleeps from 9 am until 6 pm, how many hours does his buddy have to do the driving?

Big kids: If the trip across the US is normally 2,900 miles, but the truck’s zigzagging added 400 miles, how far did those strawberries travel?  Bonus: How many days and hours is an 80-hour trip? (Reminder: A day has 24 hours.)




Wee ones: 7 strawberries.

Little kids: The banana.  Bonus: 9 hours.

Big kids: 3,300 miles.  Bonus: 3 days 8 hours.

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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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