This picture looks like a photo of a beagle getting a shower, but it isn’t a photo at all. It’s a picture made from 221,000 sprinkles lined up to look like a photo! Art student Joel Brochu created this using just red, orange, green, blue, black, and white sprinkles. They’re the tiny ball-shaped ones, and he used tweezers to stick them in perfect rows and columns on double-sided tape. He filled this 4-foot by 1-1/2-foot rectangle with almost a quarter million sprinkles! As the close-up shows, he made shades of other colors like brown and orange by mixing red and green, or red and yellow. Either way, they all taste the same.
Wee ones: If Joel used red, orange, green, blue, black, and white sprinkles, how many colors is that?
Little kids: If you stick on a red sprinkle, then a blue, then a green, then a red again, a blue again…what color comes next? Bonus: If you use 10 sprinkles of each of the 6 colors for the dog’s nose, how would you count them up by 10s?
Big kids: Joel used 221,000 sprinkles. How many more sprinkles would Joel have needed to reach a quarter million? (Hint if needed: what does a quarter of a hundred look like? A quarter of a thousand?) Bonus: If he used 1 less sprinkle than the 221,000, how many sprinkles would he have used?
The sky’s the limit: The dot picture has some number of equal-length rows of sprinkles running across and down. If it used just 221 sprinkles, what are the only 2 numbers that could be the number of rows and columns? (That is, the only pair of numbers that multiplies out to 221.)
Wee ones: 6 colors.
Little kids: Green. Bonus: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60.
Big kids: 29,000 more, to reach 250,000. Bonus: 220,999 sprinkles.
The sky’s the limit: Just 13 x 17, or 17 x 13 if you make the picture wide instead of tall.
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.