Pancakes taste great in any shape, but they’re even yummier when they have crazy designs. The folks at 10MinuteMath made a tool that spins out pancake batter the same way as one of our favorite toys, Spirograph. In Spirograph, you stick your pencil into a hole in a flat wheel with teeth (a “gear”); as you turn the gear inside a bigger ring, your pencil draws really cool, spirally shapes. The “Pangraph” pancake gadget has a gear that goes around the inside of a ring, pouring the batter in the same loopy lines…and then you get to eat your art!
Wee ones: If you’ve poured 4 loops of batter, then squirt 1 more, how many loops have you made?
Little kids: If your spirocake has 2 overlapping circles, what’s the biggest number of places the lines can cross? Bonus: If you put chocolate chips on each “petal” of your 8-petal spirocake, and you’re on the 5th one, which petal will you land on if you add 5 more chips?
Big kids: If an 8-toothed gear rolls around inside a 40-toothed ring, how many times will it spin to come back to its starting point? Bonus: What if the ring has 44 teeth? How many times will the little wheel spin to end up at the beginning?
Wee ones: 5 loops of batter.
Little kids: In 2 places. Bonus: You’ll be back on the 2nd petal, since the first 3 chips will land on 6, 7 and 8, then the 4th will land on petal 1.
Big kids: 5 times — it will make a 5-petal flower. Bonus: 11 turns. The gear will spin 5 times and fall 4 teeth short of its starting point. When it rolls around the ring a second time, it will spin another 5 times and fall 8 teeth short — perfect. That lets it do 1 more spin to end up at the start! (Note: This is all relative to the ring’s edge, not to the room at large: The gear will fall short a little of its original orientation on each spin, so it will spin only 4 times and 10 times relative to the room.)