The Big Cheese

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.

The Big Cheese

May 10, 2016

As a food, cheese has a lot of talents. It can be gooey on a pizza, or crumbled on a salad. It can be part of your meal (grilled cheese sandwich) or your dessert (cheesecake). So our friend Judah R. asked, what’s the biggest cheese in the world? Turns out there’s more than one winner because cheese can be made from cow’s milk, or goat, or sheep. The biggest sheep’s milk cheese ever weighed 1,178 pounds, but the biggest goat’s milk cheese ever weighed more than 2,000 pounds! That’s almost as much as a car. Then one has to ask, what do you do with just a huge lump of cheese? Just a few months ago, Troy Landwehr carved a 1,500-pound chunk of cheddar to look like a cheeseburger. If you think of how little cheese a regular-sized one uses, that one sculpture could top a lot of burgers.

Wee ones: How many sides does a square slice of cheese have?

Little kids: If you smear 4 crackers with that goat’s milk cheese and 3 crackers with the sheep’s milk cheese, how many crackers have you made?  Bonus: If you went up to that 1,178-pound cheese and sliced off 1 pound for yourself, how much is left? See if you can remember the number!

Big kids: If you make a burger plain with no cheese, then 2 with cheese, then 1 plain to repeat, then 2 with…is the 19th burger plain or cheese-topped?  Bonus: By the time you’ve made 14 cheeseburgers, how many burgers have you made in total?

The sky’s the limit: If a burger uses just 2 ounces of cheese, how many burgers could have been topped by the cheese from that 1,500-pound sculpture? (Reminder if needed: A pound has 16 ounces.)




Wee ones: 4 sides.

Little kids: 7.  Bonus: 1,177 pounds.

Big kids: It’s plain, since it’s first in a new set of 3.  Bonus: 21 burgers, since you’ve now made 7 full sets of 3 burgers.

The sky’s the limit: 12,000 burgers! There are 8 sets of 2 ounces in a pound, so every pound can top 8 burgers.

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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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