As Halloween nears, we start thinking about ghosts, monsters, and creepy creatures. We also think about more cheerful, colorful things like pumpkins, too. So what better way to celebrate than to make a monster out of pumpkins? This month the New York Botanical Garden put up two giant Loch Ness Monster sculptures made of pumpkins arching over a pond. The “real” Loch Ness Monster, nicknamed Nessie, is a mythical snake-like giant that supposedly lives in Loch Ness, a lake in Scotland. Pictures of strange shapes in the water have been said to be fake, but just this week scientists decided that a 2012 video of a Nessie in Iceland does show a real animal. People with photos might actually be spotting an oarfish, a (real) snakelike fish that can reach over 30 feet long and lives more than 1,000 feet deep. If you’re not looking to meet a creature like that, check out the Botanical Garden’s monsters instead; they look a lot cuter.
Wee ones: Which Nessie’s neck has more pumpkins? Count them if you can!
Little kids: The big Nessie’s neck has 10 pumpkins. If 1 of those is Nessie’s head, how many more pumpkins does that section have? Bonus: The little Nessie’s head and neck have 6 pumpkins. How many pumpkins do the 2 monsters have together there?
Big kids: If the big Nessie has 10 pumpkins for the head and neck, 21 for the middle part of the body, 9 for the tail and 4 more underwater to hold everything up, how many pumpkins is that in total? Bonus: If you can make 4 pies out of each pumpkin, how many pies can this Nessie make after Halloween?
Wee ones: The Nessie on the left has more: she appears to have 10 pumpkins vs. 6.
Little kids: 9 pumpkins. Bonus: 16 pumpkins.
Big kids: 44 pumpkins. Bonus: 176 pumpkins.
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.