It’s awesome when people get together to build something really cool-looking — and even better when it helps other people. As our friend Suzanne D. shared with us, at Canstruction people around the country build giant statues out of cans of food. Then the cans are given to other folks who don’t have enough food. These Despicable Me minions are made of cans of tuna fish. Maybe Despicable Me is a good guy after all.

*Wee ones:* How many eyes can you count on the Despicable Me guys in the photo?

*Little kids:* If you stick on a red can, then a blue can then a red, then a blue…what color is the 7th can? *Bonus:* If the front guy’s arms each have 10 cans, how many cans make up his arms?

*Big kids:* Each Despicable Me guy has what looks like 41 rows of cans top to bottom. If tuna cans are 2 inches tall, how tall are the statues? *Bonus:* What does that equal in feet and inches — and how much taller than you are they? (Reminder: A foot has 12 inches.)

*The sky’s the limit:* How many cans did it take to build each of these statues? Do some guessing and some math, and see what you come up with! (You “can” assume the statue is hollow — just cans around the outside surfaces.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 3 eyes.

*Little kids:* Red. *Bonus:* 20 cans.

*Big kids:* 82 inches. *Bonus:* 6 feet 10 inches – and for how much taller, different for everyone.

*The sky’s the limit:* We got about 750…here’s what we did. We counted about 23 equal layers in the head and shoulders/chest, and 11 cans in the half of the layer we can see, making 22 cans per layer. That comes to 506 cans. For the pants, we assumed each layer has 2 fewer cans than the layer above it. For the 8 layers in the pants, that means adding 20+18+16+14+12+10+8+6. To add that quickly, that’s the same as 20+6, then 18+8, and so on, which is four 26s or 104 more cans. For the head, similar thing: 6 layers would give 20+18+16+14+12+10, which is the same as six 15s, or 90. That gives us 506+104+90, which comes to exactly 700. Then there are 36 in the arms (we count 18 in each) and 12 in the feet (6 in each), bringing us to 748 tuna cans in each statue.