We love food even more when it’s shaped like a cute animal. Chef John Mitzewich figured out how to turn an apple into a swan, with feathery-looking wings, a long neck, and even tiny apple-peel eyes. If you watch the video, he cuts a flat chunk off the apple, then cuts down into the apple and then sideways to loosen an L-shaped piece. He cuts that piece into lots of L-shaped wedges, and slides each one back a little to make the feathers of a wing. After making the 2nd wing, Chef uses that first leftover chunk to make the head and neck. As you see in the photo, we tried it here at Bedtime Math — and if you can find a grown-up who can help, you can make a swan for snacktime, too!
Wee ones: If you start with 5 apples but then eat 1 of them, how many neat, clean apples are left to turn into swans?
Little kids: Each swan wing has 4 L-shaped pieces. How many wing pieces does 1 swan have in total? Bonus: If you count down from 8 as you eat each wing piece, what numbers do you say?
Big kids: If you get faster and better at making these swans, and the first takes 40 minutes, the next takes 37, the third takes 34…how fast do you make the next one to keep the pattern? Bonus: If you make 27 swans from red apples and yellow apples, and end up with twice as many red as yellow, how many of each color do you have?
Wee ones: 4 apples.
Little kids: 8 wing pieces. Bonus: 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.
Big kids: 31 minutes. Bonus: 18 red swans and 9 yellow. Every 2 red and a yellow makes a set of 3, and there are 9 of those sets in 27.
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.