We have to thank this state for being sweet, too. Girl Scout cookies were first made here! Back in 1917, a troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma baked the cookies right in their own kitchens. Everyone loved the cookies so much that soon they were being sold all over America. Oklahoma might also be home to the first Boy Scout troop ever. There’s a statue in Pawhuska honoring a troop from 1909. But if you really want to have a ball, check out Chris Barbee’s Bowling Ball Yard. Chris has built pigs, ladybugs, a pyramid, an American flag, and even a small house out of bowling balls and bowling pins! It all started when he was making a fence out of bowling balls, and people who saw it wanted to give him extras. But don’t try to pick up that ladybug or pig! Let’s do the math to find out why.
Wee ones: If a bowling ball has holes for 1 thumb and 2 fingers, how many holes does it have?
Little kids: If you eat an equal number of Girl Scout cookies of 3 different flavors, can you eat a total of 10 cookies? Bonus: If 1 Girl Scout troop sold cookies the 1st year, 2 troops the 2nd year, 4 troops the 3rd year, 8 troops the 4th year, how many troops do you think sold cookies in the 5th year?
Big kids: Bowling balls can weigh from 6 up to 16 pounds! If the ladybug uses 20 7-pound balls, does that weigh more or less than you? Bonus: There are flower sculptures that have 8 bowling pin ‘petals’ stuck to a bowling ball. How many pins would a dozen of these flowers have?
The sky’s the limit: Can you figure out (without counting in a picture) how many bowling balls are in each row of the 273-ball American flag? (Reminder: The flag has 7 red stripes and 6 white stripes).
Wee ones: 3 holes.
Little kids: No, because 3 doesn’t go into 10 evenly. Eating 3 cookies of each of 3 flavors would come to 9 cookies, and eating 4 of each would come to 12 cookies. Bonus: 16 troops, because the number of troops doubles with each year.
Big kids: Different for everyone…compare your weight to 140 pounds! Bonus: 96 pins. Since 8 = 2 x 2 x 2, you can just double the 12 3 times: 24, 48, 96. Another way to multiply it is to split the 12 into 10 and 2: 8 x 10 = 80, and 8 x 2 = 16. 80 + 16 = 96.
The sky’s the limit: There are 21 balls in each row. Since there are 13 total stripes, there are 13 rows of bowling balls. 273 / 13 = 21. One way to find the total number of 13s is to find a close multiple of 13…we know 13 x 2 is 26, so 13 x 20 = 260. Then we need just one more 13 to get to 273!
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.