One of the best parts of a road trip is trying the food in each crazy new place, and Georgia has all kinds of goodies. As the Peach State they obviously grow peaches, but they also grow more pecans than any other state. And both of those make tasty toppings for another treat: the waffle. Waffle House is a restaurant with locations in exactly half our country’s states, but it started in Georgia. There are 2,100 Waffle Houses today, and 439 of them are in Georgia! They say they sell 2% of all the eggs in America, or 1 out of every 50. Since they cook the food so quickly, and serve it 24 hours per day, that just might be true.
Wee ones: What shape is the waffle in that picture? And what shape are the holes in it?
Little kids: If you cut a skinny strip of 5 waffle squares, and squirt syrup in every other square starting with the 1st, how many squares get syrup? Bonus: If your waffle has 3 rows of 3 squares each, how many squares does it have?
Big kids: If a waffle has 6 rows of 6 squares each, how many squares are along the edges, and how many aren’t? Bonus: If 1 egg makes batter for 2 waffles, and your first 30 customers each want 3 waffles plus a fried egg, how many eggs do you need to make the meals?
The sky’s the limit: If 439 of the 2,100 Waffle Houses are in Georgia, does the state have more than 1/4 of all Waffle Houses? Can you get the answer with a shortcut?
Wee ones: A circle waffle, with square holes.
Little kids: 3 squares: the 1st, 3rd and 5th. Bonus: 9 squares, because 3 + 3 + 3 = 9, or 3 x 3 = 9.
Big kids: 20 squares are along the edges: 6 in the top row, 6 in the bottom, and then 4 more on the left edge and 4 more on the right (so we don’t double-count the corners). There are 6 x 6 = 36 squares total so that leaves 16 in the middle – which makes sense, since it’s a 4 x 4 shape that’s left! Bonus: 75 eggs. The 30 customers together want 90 waffles, which use 45 eggs (90/2). Then we add the 30 eggs, at 1 egg per person.
The sky’s the limit: Not quite. We know if there were just 2,000 Waffle Houses, Georgia would need 500 of them to have 1/4…and they have fewer than 500 out of more than 2,000.
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.