Today we celebrate one of our favorite foods: the chocolate chip. These tiny tasty pieces melt into yummy gooeyness in any warm dessert. So who invented the chocolate chip? Some say that in 1930, baker Ruth Wakefield wanted to make chocolate cookies, where the cookie dough itself is chocolatey brown. She had run out of cocoa powder, so instead mixed tiny chunks of chocolate bar into the batter. She thought the chips would blend into the batter as the cookie baked. The chips did melt, but they stayed in gooey little blobs in a vanilla cookie. Thanks to that mistake, we have the chocolate chip cookie! We now stir and sprinkle chips into cakes, ice creams, and pies. No matter how you do the math, the answer is “Yum.”
Wee ones: Which has a smaller number of chocolate chips, a cookie with 4 chips or a cookie with 6 chips?
Little kids: If a cookie has 10 chocolate chips, what numbers are the 3 chips you eat after chip #5? Bonus: How do you count the chips you eat in your first 5 cookies, if you count by 10s?
Big kids: You can mix melted chocolate chips with whipped egg white and whipped cream to make chocolate mousse! If the recipe needs 120 chips and you have 2 bags of 70 chips each, do you have enough chips? Bonus: If instead you make chocolate chip cookies, and you need 15 chips in each, how many “good” cookies can you make?
The sky’s the limit: If you can use 10 chips per cookie or 15 chips per chocolate mousse, how would you divide 100 chips to make exactly 8 desserts with no leftover chips?
Wee ones: The cookie with 4 chips has fewer.
Little kids: Chips #6, 7, 8. Bonus: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50.
Big kids: Yes, because you have 140 chips. Bonus: 9 cookies, since 10 cookies would use 150 chips, and you have only 140.
The sky’s the limit: 4 mousses and 4 cookies. You need an even number of mousses to use a multiple of 10 in them. Working your way up through the even numbers, 2 mousses use only 30 chips, which leaves you with 70 to make 7 cookies. But 4 mousses use 60 chips, which leaves you with 40 to make 4 cookies.
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.