A lot of people love pizza. Turns out animals dig it, too. That groundhog in the picture showed up on someone’s patio with a slice of pizza in its little mitts. Then it just plopped down and ate the pizza for about an hour. It makes sense it took so long, since the pizza was built person-sized, and groundhogs weigh around 10 pounds. Or maybe the critter was just enjoying its view inside of the 2 dogs who were probably hoping it’d share a bite.
Wee ones: This slice of pizza is (or was) a square with 4 sides. If a shape has 1 less side than 4, how many sides does it have, and what is it called?
Little kids: If a groundhog sneaks 1 slice of pizza out of an 8-slice pizza pie, how many slices are left? Bonus: If the groundhog eats a plain slice of pizza, then a slice of pepperoni pizza, then a slice of mushroom, then back to plain, pepperoni, mushroom, etc. to keep repeating the pattern, what flavor is the 17th slice? Can you figure it out without counting it out?
Big kids: Groundhog teeth grow all the time – 1/16 of an inch every week. How many weeks would it take for a groundhog tooth to grow 1 inch? Bonus: How many inches would a tooth grow over a 52-week year?
Wee ones: 3 sides, and that shape is called a triangle.
Little kids: 7 slices. Bonus: Pepperoni. Every multiple of 3 is mushroom, including 15. 17 is 2 slices past that, so it’s back to the 2nd flavor in the set.
Big kids: 16 weeks. Fortunately for groundhogs, they munch on enough food to keep their teeth from growing that long! Bonus: 3 1/4 inch. Since it takes 16 weeks to grow 1 inch, you can divide 52 weeks by 16. Counting up by 16s (16, 32, 48) shows that 3 16s go into 52, with 4 left over. That 4/16 = 1/4.
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.