Worms are strange animals. They live in the mud, squirm around without bones, and basically eat dirt (well, not really — they eat dead plant pieces in the dirt). A worm sure doesn’t sound like something WE would eat. So how crazy is it that we make candy shaped like worms? The gummy worm is a sweet, chewy, almost glow-in-the-dark treat. But its ridgy body really does look like a worm. To top it off, someone thought we should have giant-sized ones. The world’s largest gummy worm is about 3 feet long, and weighs more than 3 pounds! But it has flavors like cherry and raspberry, so we’d rather eat that worm than a real one.
Wee ones: If you have 4 red gummy worms and 5 yellow gummy worms, of which color do you have fewer? Hold up your fingers to count if it helps!
Little kids: If you put 5 gummy worms on the table, which worm is exactly in the middle? Bonus: If you have 3 colors of worms and eat 3 of each color, how many worms do you eat?
Big kids: If you dive into a bag of 80 gummy worms and eat just 1, how many are left? Bonus: If you stood that 3-foot gummy worm on end, would it be taller or shorter than you, and by how many inches? (Reminder: a foot equals 12 inches.)
Wee ones: You have fewer red worms.
Little kids: The 3rd worm. Bonus: 9 worms.
Big kids: 79 worms. Bonus: Different for everyone…subtract 36 from your height in inches, or subtract your height from 36 if it’s taller than you!
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.