When you see what cool things people can make out of plain old plastic spoons, you might never throw out a spoon again. On one site, an artist cut the handles off 125 plastic spoons, painted the scoop parts yellow, then glued them onto a clear plastic bottle with a light bulb inside. That makes a lamp that looks like a pineapple. On another page, someone else glued together spoon scoops to make a flower clock. The 250 pieces fan out to make an 18-inch-wide flower face. Now we can decorate our houses while saving some trash from the dump, too.
Wee ones: On the flower clock, which row uses more spoons, a circular ring near the middle or a ring near the outer edge?
Little kids: If the pineapple lamp uses 5 spoons in the top row and 1 more than that in the next, how many does it use in that 2nd row? Bonus: How many does it use in both rows together?
Big kids: If the flower clock uses 22 spoons in the center ring, and each new ring uses 3 more than the one inside it, can a ring have 34 spoons in it? Bonus: If the pineapple uses 100 spoons, with 8 spoons in as many rows as possible, how many full rows of 8 does it have?
Wee ones: The ring near the outside.
Little kids: 6 spoons. Bonus: 11 spoons, since it’s 5 + 6.
Big kids: Yes! There will be 25, 28, 31, and 34 spoons in the next 4 rows. Bonus: 12 rows, which brings us to 96 spoons plus 4 left in the last row.
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.