Mega Sno-Cone Machine

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.

Mega Sno-Cone Machine

February 17, 2018

When hockey season starts, the most exciting player on the ice might be the Zamboni. This big, clunky machine cleans the ice during the breaks in the game, because the players’ skate blades slice up the ice and make it bumpy. Also, sometimes the players dig in their blades just to spray snow in the other team’s faces. So the Zambonis roll out to clean the ice row by row. They scrape up the snowy leftovers, and spread a puddle of hot water that refreezes into nice, smooth ice. So how much fluffy snow does that Zamboni scrape up — and if we mixed in some fruit syrup, how many sno-cones could we make?

Wee ones: Sometimes kids get to ride the Zamboni! If you get to ride it 3 times during the game breaks, what numbers do you say to count your rides?

Little kids: If you make a red sno-cone, then a yellow, then a blue, then red again to repeat the pattern, after how many cones do you have 3 of the same color?  Bonus: Each machine drives 4 round trips across the ice (to the other end AND back). If a Zamboni can cross in 10 seconds, how fast can each Zamboni finish its job? (Try counting up by 10s!)

Big kids: If the Zamboni starts at 7:58 pm and runs for 5 minutes, when does it finish?  Bonus: If the Zamboni collects enough snow for 1,000 sno-cones, and you make as many strawberry cones as blue raspberry cones and orange cones together, what’s the biggest number of orange cones you could make? (Assume you make all 3 flavors, and just those 3.)





Wee ones: 1, 2, 3.

Little kids: On the 7th, when you make your 3rd red cone.  Bonus: 80 seconds, because it drives the length 8 times (4 round trips).

Big kids: At 8:03 pm.  Bonus: 499 orange cones. You have 500 blue and orange together, and you could make just 1 of them blue.

And tomorrow, check out our Bedtime Math post for the truth about mini cereal boxes!

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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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