New York City is one of the biggest, wildest cities in the world. So as you’d guess, it has some equally crazy numbers behind it. For one thing, the whole island of Manhattan, named New Amsterdam at the time, was bought from the Native Americans for just $12, which would be only about $1,000 in today’s money — less than you would pay for a car. Then the guy who bought the island gave it to his son, the Duke of York, for his 18th birthday. The overexcited Duke renamed it New York. Today the city has more than 8 million people who speak more than 800 languages, and who eat from 1,600 pizzerias. No building on the whole island of Manhattan is more than 8/10 of a mile from a subway station — and the nearest pizzeria might be closer.
Wee ones: Most New York pizzas are circles. Hold your hands together so your fingers make a circle.
Little kids: If someone gave you $12, what numbers would you say to count out the dollars? Bonus: The Duke of York got New Amsterdam on his 18th birthday. What was his age the day before?
Big kids: NYC has more people than 39 of our 50 states. How many states have more people than NYC? Bonus: The city will plant a tree in front of your home if you ask. If 1/2 of the 8,400,000 people ask for a tree, how many trees would be planted?
The sky’s the limit: If there are 1,600 pizzerias for about 8,000,000 people, how many people does each pizzeria have to feed? (Hint if needed: What if there were 16 pizzerias for 80 people? Then 800?)
Wee ones: See if you can make a circle with your hands!
Little kids: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Bonus: 17.
Big kids: Just 11 states. Bonus: 4,200,000 (four million two hundred thousand) trees.
The sky’s the limit: 5,000 people. 16 pizzerias serving 80 people would feed just 5 people apiece, so 1,600 pizzerias feeding 8,000 would also be 5 apiece…and NYC has 1,000 times as many people as that.
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.