Our friend Elley C. asked a crazy question: are there more strawberries or people in the world? Well, every year we grow about 4 1/2 million tons of berries. A ton has 2,000 pounds, so that comes to about 9 *billion *pounds of strawberries. Whoa! The world has “only” about 7 1/2 billion people, so that’s more than a whole box of berries per person! Looks like the berries win this one.

*Wee ones:* If you eat an apple, an orange, a strawberry, and a peach, how many fruits do you eat?

*Little kids:* If you have a box of 9 strawberries and you eat 1, how many are left for other people to eat? *Bonus:* If 2 friends share that number, how many berries does each friend get?

*Big kids:* If you have 22 strawberries, and need 7 strawberries to make a really good smoothie, how many smoothies can you make? Will you have any berries left? *Bonus:* If you can get more berries in boxes of 10, how many more boxes do you need to make 6 smoothies total?

*The sky’s the limit:* If you have 3 boxes of strawberries, and the 1^{st} and 2^{nd} boxes together have 17 berries, the 2^{nd} and 3^{rd} have 22 berries, and the 1^{st} and 3^{rd} together have 19 berries, how many berries are there in each box?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 4 fruits.

*Little kids:* 8 berries. *Bonus:* 4 berries per friend.

*Big kids:* 3 smoothies, with 1 berry left over. *Bonus:* You need 42 berries to make 6 smoothies, so you need 2 more boxes of 10.

*The sky’s the limit:* 7, 10, and 12 berries. If the 1^{st} and 3^{rd} have 19 berries, and the 2^{nd} and 3^{rd}have 22, that means swapping in the 2^{nd} box for the 1^{st} box jumped it by 3 berries. The 2^{nd} box has 3 more berries than the 1^{st}. We know the 1^{st} and 2^{nd} together have 17, which is like having the 1^{st} box, plus another 1^{st} box, plus 3 extra berries. If that adds up to 17, then 2 of that 1st box would give you just 14, and you have 7 per box. That means the 2^{nd} box has 3 more than that, which is 10. And since the 2^{nd} and 3^{rd} add up to 22, the 3^{rd} box must have 12.