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How to Get a Bigger Brownie

by Laura Overdeck

Normally you cut a tray of brownies with straight lines to make squares or rectangles. If the pieces come out uneven, you hope you get the biggest one. But this cake-cutter by Matthias Wandel makes hexagons instead! Check out those cool chocolate-chip bars. There are only 3 shapes with all equal sides and angles that can fit together with no gaps or overlaps: hexagons, squares…and can you think of the last one? Triangles. Try cutting your brownies that way, too!

Wee ones: How many sides does a hexagon have? Check out the picture!

Little kids: If you eat a hexagon brownie and then a normal square one, how many edges do they have all together?  Bonus: If you cut 2 straight lines across a square cake and then 2 straight lines from back to front, how many pieces will you have?

Big kids: If you cut your brownies into 6 rows of 4 hexagons plus 6 half-hexagons, how many total hexagons do you have?  Bonus: If you can fit 36 squares instead, how many more brownies do you have by cutting squares?

The sky’s the limit: By what fraction is each of 27 hexagons bigger than one of the 36 squares from the same size tray?

 

 

 

Answers:
Wee ones: 6 sides.

Little kids: 10 edges, since the square has 4.  Bonus: 9 pieces — imagine a tic tac toe board.

Big kids: 27 hexagons, since the 6 halves give you 3 more.  Bonus: 9 more brownies.

The sky’s the limit: 1/3 bigger than a square. Each hexagon is 4/3 of a brownie, since you can cut only 3/4 as many of them. If you carve out 3/3 for the square brownie, you’re left with 1/3 extra.

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