Today America has the Super Bowl, when a bunch of guys on a football field try to throw a pointy ball and knock each other down, while the rest of us watch the game and eat way too much. Pizza is a popular food for game parties: fans eat 11 million slices in one day. So our friend Emmett L. asked, how many pizzas would it take to fill up a football field? Well, a football field is pretty big: the field itself is 300 feet long, plus the end zones, plus more space around that — and then you have the seats, or stands. As an example, Emmett’s favorite field, FedEx Field, covers 1,800,000 square feet! (1.8 million). If we use 18-inch square pizza boxes, then we neatly fit 4 boxes into each 3 x 3-foot square, or square yard. There are 200,000 square yards in that 1.8 million, so that holds 800,000 pizzas. And if we FILL the stadium, stacking 2-inch-thick boxes 128 feet high, we get more than 614 million pizzas. Even with everyone overeating on the big day, we doubt the people at the field can eat all of that.
Wee ones: What shape is the football field itself (the grassy part in the white lines)?
Little kids: If you lay out 4 pizza boxes to make a square yard, then eat 1 of those pizzas yourself, how many pizzas are left? Bonus: If pizza boxes are 2 inches thick, how many do you have to stack to reach 1 foot? (Hint if needed: A foot has 12 inches…try counting up by 2s!)
Big kids: How many 2-inch pizza boxes would stack to be as tall as you? Find your height in inches! Bonus: If each one is cut into 10 slices, how many slices does that give you?
The sky’s the limit: FedEx Field seats about 80,000 people. If you can fit 600 million pizzas in there, how many pizzas does each fan get to eat if they divide them up equally?
Wee ones: A rectangle.
Little kids: 3 pizzas. Bonus: 6 pizza boxes.
Big kids: Different for everyone…find your height in inches to the nearest even number, then divide by 2. Bonus: Different for everyone again: multiply your number of boxes by 10, which is the same as tacking a zero on the end.
The sky’s the limit: 7,500 pizzas per person. A trick: to divide by 80,000 you’re dividing by 8, then by 10,000. And dividing by 8 is just the same as cutting in half, then in half again, then in half a third time.
And thank you Emmett for the food-and-football question!
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.