Aloha! That’s how you say hello – and goodbye – in our next state. Hawai’i is the only state made up completely of islands (over 100). Also, people live longer there than people from any other state – why is that? Maybe it’s the warm weather, or the beautiful beaches with pink sand…or maybe it’s the macadamia nuts. The macadamia is one of the butteriest, yummiest nuts you can eat – if you can crack open its tough shell. You need to crush the nut with 300 pounds per square inch to crack it! They used to spread the nuts out on the road and drive trucks over them to break them open. Last year Hawai’i grew about 25,000 tons of macadamias…what would that pile look like? Read on to figure it out!

*Wee ones:* Hawai’i has 8 large islands out of the 100. Can you show the number 8 with your fingers?

*Little kids:* If you eat a dark-chocolate-covered macadamia nut, then a milk chocolate one, then a plain one, then repeat over and over since they’re so yummy, what flavor is the 9th nut you eat? *Bonus: *How many nuts of each flavor did you eat?

*Big kids:* If you and your friends each weigh 50 pounds, how many of you need to pile onto a 1-inch-square nut to weigh 300 pounds to crack it? *Bonus**:* If you eat dark-chocolate macadamias, twice as many milk chocolate macadamias as dark chocolate, and 3 times as many cookies n’ cream macadamias as dark chocolate, and you eat 18 in total…how many of each do you eat?

*The sky’s the limit: *If there are 10 macadamia nuts in 1 ounce, how many nuts are in 1 ton? (Reminder: 1 pound has 16 ounces, and again, 1 ton has 2,000 pounds.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* See if you can hold up 8 fingers – you’ll need to use 2 hands!

*Little kids:* A plain nut. *Bonus:* 3 nuts of each flavor.

*Big kids:* 6 of you. *Bonus**:* 3 dark chocolate, 6 milk, and 9 cookies n’ cream. Think of it as sets: each dark-chocolate nut has 2 milk friends and 3 cookies friends, making a set of 6. Then there are 3 of those sets in 18.

*The sky’s the limit: *320,000 macadamia nuts in 1 ton, or about a third of a million! 10 x 16 = 160 nuts in 1 pound. From there, to multiply by 2,000 you can first multiply by 1,000, then double what you get. 160 x 1,000 = 160,000, and then 160,000 x 2 = 320,000.

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.