How many hockey pucks can you fit in a hockey rink? They can line up in neat rows and columns, where their centers form squares (see the picture). BUT if they line up honeycomb-style to make triangles, more fit in the same area! Pucks are 3 inches wide, so a 144-by-85-foot hockey rink can hold 576 rows of 340 pucks the “square” way, or 195,840 pucks…but the triangle way gives us 665 rows of 340 pucks, or 226,143. Next time you pack cupcakes in a box, you’ll know which way fits the most!

*Wee ones:* How many blue hockey pucks can you count in the “square” set on the left? Count as high as you can!

*Little kids:* If a puck is 3 inches wide, how wide is that square set of them? *Bonus:* How many more pucks would you need to reach 1 foot (12 inches)?

*Big kids:* If you have a 12-inch by 12-inch square, how many pucks fit the “square” way? *Bonus: *Better yet, what if we stand the pucks on edge in sideways stacks? They’re just 1 inch thick, so how many can you fit across 5 feet? (Reminder: A foot has 12 inches.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 9 blue pucks.

*Little kids:* 9 inches, since it’s 3 x 3 inches. *Bonus:* 1 more puck.

*Big kids:* 16 pucks, since you have 4 rows with 4 pucks in each. *Bonus:* 60 pucks, since it’s 12 per foot x 5.