Now that the winter holidays have started, let’s talk about our favorite warm drink: hot chocolate. Or is it hot cocoa? Are they the same thing? No, they are very different drinks. Hot cocoa uses cocoa powder and sugar, like in the packets from the store. But to make hot chocolate, you melt chopped-up pieces of chocolate bar. The rich cocoa butter makes a thicker, smoother drink. That’s how the Maya in Central America made their chocolate drinks over 2,000 years ago! They drank their chocolate cold, though, probably because it was hot where they lived. But now that we have melty marshmallows, too, we like to heat things up.
Wee ones: A mini-marshmallow can fit on the tip of your finger. Find 2 things in your room that are also small enough to fit on your fingertip.
Little kids: If you have 9 marshmallows floating in your cocoa and you slurp up 1, how many are left floating around? Bonus: How many more do you need to slurp up to leave a total of 4?
Big kids: If you pour 20 cups of hot chocolate and toss marshmallows in every other one starting with the 2nd, how many cups get marshmallows? Bonus: If you now toss marshmallows in every 5th cup starting with the 5th, how many NEW cups get marshmallows?
Wee ones: Items might include buttons, small pieces of Lego, or pebbles.
Little kids: 8 mini-marshmallows. Bonus: 4 more, since you need to get from 8 down to 4.
Big kids: 10 cups. Bonus: Only 2 news cups, the 5th and 15th. The 10th and 20th already have marshmallows.
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.