Pennsylvania is home to the Liberty Bell, which is 3 feet tall and weighs more than 2,000 pounds. But you won’t find Pennsylvania written on the Liberty Bell. Instead it reads “Pensylvania,” because back in 1754 nobody could decide whether to spell it with 2 n’s or 3 n’s. Luckily they know how to spell its snacks! The first pretzel company in the country was founded there in 1861. Utz, Herr’s, Snyder’s, Wise, and many other big snack food companies can be found in “the Snack Belt.” The famous Heinz ketchup comes from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And of course, Hershey’s chocolate comes from there, which you can celebrate at Hershey Park – including building your own candy bar on this machine! This state definitely gives us a lot to chew on.
Wee ones: Are there more letters in Pennsylvania with 3 n’s, or “Pensylvania” with 2 n’s?
Little kids: Is the 3-foot tall Liberty Bell taller than you? Have a grown-up help you figure out your height! Bonus: Pennsylvania is also famous for its cheesesteaks. If you eat a cheesesteak every other day starting on Sunday, how many do you eat that week?
Big kids: If Hershey bars come in 3 rows with 4 pieces in each row, how many bars do you need to have at least 100 pieces? Bonus: When you build your own candy bar, you can choose dark, milk, or white chocolate; then you can add mini chips or no mini chips; rice crispies or no rice crispies; and sprinkles or no sprinkles. How many different candy bar combinations can you make with those ingredients?
Wee ones: There are more letters in Pennsylvania with 3 n’s.
Little kids: Different for everyone – measure your height and compare it to 3 feet! Bonus: 4 times (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday).
Big kids: 9 bars, because the 3 rows of 4 pieces make 12 pieces in each bar. 12 x 8 = 96, so you need 1 more bar to have >100 pieces. Bonus: 24 combinations. *Each* of the 3 chocolates leads to 2 possibilities (chips or no chips), giving us 3 x 2 = 6 chocolate/chip combos. Then each of those 6 has 2 possibilities for rice crispies (crispies or no crispies), giving us 6 x 2 = 12. And then each of the 12 has 2 possibilities for sprinkles (sprinkles or no sprinkles), giving us 12 x 2 = 24.
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.