Pasta comes in all kinds of fun shapes: skinny noodles, twisty spirals, even spinny wagon wheels. But the simplest shapes are the big, thin, flat pieces called “lasagne,” which means more than one “lasagna.” That’s also the name of the dish you make from these shapes, which is our fan Lindsay O.’s favorite food. You layer the pasta sheets with sauce, cheese, sliced veggies, and whatever else you want to stick in there. You pile up these ingredients in a big pan and bake it, then cut it into squares to serve it. It’s a warm, gooey, cheesy treat, but you need to do the pattern right!
Wee ones: If you layer pasta, then sauce, then cheese, then start over with the pasta, then the sauce, what’s next?
Little kids: If you put in pasta, sauce and cheese, then repeat, then repeat again, how many layers of ingredients do you have? Bonus: If you add in 3 layers of sliced zucchini but take out 1 layer of pasta, now how many total layers do you have?
Big kids: If you start baking your lasagna at 5:45 pm and it takes 20 minutes, when does it come out of the oven? Bonus: If you cut a 9×12 pan of lasagna into pieces that are 3 inches by 4 inches, how many pieces can you cut with no gaps or overlaps?
Wee ones: The cheese.
Little kids: 9 layers. Bonus: 11 layers.
Big kids: At 6:05 pm. Bonus: 9 pieces (3 rows from back to front, with 3 pieces in each).
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.