That’s a funny-looking taco, isn’t it? That’s because it’s an ice cream birthday cake! The shell is a giant chocolate chip cookie folded into a taco. Then it was stuffed with other foods that look like real taco fillings: vanilla and chocolate ice cream for chicken and beef, yellow sprinkles for the cheese, frozen green frosting for the lettuce, chopped maraschino cherries for tomato, and whipped cream for sour cream. It was made in honor of the little people in The Lego Movie, who eat tacos for lunch on Taco Tuesday. But our lettuce and tomato taste better than theirs.
Wee ones: If the giant taco cake has sprinkles, cherries, frosting, and whipped cream, how many toppings does it have?
Little kids: If you’re nibbling ice cream taco cake and you eat the cherries, then sprinkles, then whipped cream, then back to cherries again to repeat, what are your next 2 bites? See if you can remember the pattern! Bonus: What food is in your 10th bite?
Big kids: If the Taco Tuesday cake is 5 regular tacos long, 3 tacos wide and 2 tacos tall, how many regular tacos could you fit inside this one? (Hint of needed: What if it was the same height, but still 5 tacos long and 3 tacos wide? And don’t worry about edges lining up.) Bonus: If the taco cake uses 14 times as much topping as a regular taco, how many teaspoons of sprinkles were needed if a real taco uses 4 teaspoons?
The sky’s the limit: If the vanilla ice cream and chocolate ice cream add up to 16 scoops, the vanilla ice cream and whipped cream add up to 19 scoops, and the chocolate ice cream and whipped cream add up to 21 scoops, how many scoops of each ingredient were used?
Wee ones: 4 toppings.
Little kids: Sprinkles, then whipped cream. Bonus: Cherries.
Big kids: 30 tacos. Bonus: 56 teaspoons.
The sky’s the limit: There are 7 scoops of vanilla ice cream, 9 scoops of chocolate and 12 scoops of whipped cream. A quick way to solve it: if vanilla + chocolate is 16 but vanilla + whipped is 19, then there are 3 more scoops of whipped cream than chocolate. Choc + whipped is 21, which means if the whipped came down 3 to the chocolate amount, they’d add up to 18, or 9 scoops each. So there are 9 scoops of chocolate, and from there you can figure out the rest.
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.