When food shows up in a crazy shape, will it still taste good? You might worry a little when someone hands you a square watermelon. Someone figured out that if you build a plastic box around a growing watermelon, it will grow to fill the corners, and turn into a box shape itself. While these cubic fruits look fun, the price isn’t: 1 cube watermelon can sell for more than $75! Luckily you can grow your own (find out here how to do it). One good thing about this shape is that you can grow 4 times as many cube watermelons as round watermelons inside the same garden space. If they taste good, that’s a great deal.
Wee ones: These cube watermelons are shaped like boxes. See if you can spot a box or box shape in your room.
Little kids: How many “faces” (flat sides) does a cube watermelon or any box shape have? Bonus: How many corners (pointy parts where 3 faces meet) does a cube watermelon have? See if you can find and count them all!
Big kids: You can fit 4 times as many cube watermelons as round watermelons in the same garden space. If you can grow 5 round watermelons in your garden, how many cube watermelons could you plant instead? Bonus: If you put 12 cube watermelons in 3 rows of 4 to make a rectangle, how many watermelons are in the middle/not on the edge?
Wee ones: Answers might include shoeboxes, or box shapes like building blocks or Lego pieces.
Little kids: 6 faces. Bonus: 8 corners.
Big kids: 20 cube watermelons. Bonus: The 2 melons in the middle.
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.