America celebrates ice cream over and over. We have National Ice Cream Day, then Free Cone Day, then the whole month of July is National Ice Cream Month…and today we celebrate just one great flavor: National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. The first chocolate ice cream was born in 1692, when the Italians froze their hot chocolate to make a new treat. But is chocolate ice cream the most popular flavor? Of the top 15 flavors, chocolate is the *2nd* most popular. 3 other flavors in the top 15 use chocolate ice cream, too: chocolate marshmallow, rocky road, and Neapolitan (it has a stripe of chocolate with the vanilla and strawberry). Unbelievably, the most popular flavor is plain old vanilla! But no matter how you run the numbers, it’s all yummy.
Wee ones: If you count up the top 15 flavors, how high can you count? Try it!
Little kids: Vanilla fudge ripple is the 9th most popular flavor. How many flavors are even better-liked than that? Bonus: If you eat a scoop of the 1st, 4th, and 7th most popular flavors, what number flavor do you probably scoop next?
Big kids: There are 2 pints in a quart, and 4 quarts in a gallon. If you eat a whole gallon of chocolate ice cream, how many pints is that? Bonus: If you eat 14 pints and your friend wolfs down 2 gallons, who ate more ice cream?
The sky’s the limit: If you’re making sundaes for friends, and you put 3 scoops of vanilla and 2 scoops of chocolate in each dish, which flavor will run out first if you start with 16 pints of vanilla and 12 pints of chocolate?
Wee ones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. See how many of them you can get!
Little kids: 8 flavors. Bonus: The 10th flavor.
Big kids: 8 pints. Bonus: Your friend ate more (16 pints).
The sky’s the limit: Vanilla will run out first. 12 pints of chocolate would need 3/2 as many pints of vanilla to match, which would be 18.
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.