The next state on our trip is the Sunflower State, better known as Kansas. There’s some cool math happening here: the geographic center of the lower 48 states is in Kansas! Over 100 years ago, surveyors balanced a cardboard cutout of the U.S. on a pin, and found the center was near a town called Lebanon, Kansas. It’s also the middle of “America’s Bread Basket,” since Kansas grows more wheat than any other state. You know what a half-gallon of milk looks like? A “bushel” is more than 18 of those put together, and the 20,000 wheat farms in Kansas grow 333 million bushels of wheat every year. That’s 1/5 of all the wheat in the country, and could make 36 BILLION loaves of bread. Let’s see how fast all of America can eat that!

*Wee ones:* If you make a sandwich with peanut butter, jelly, and 2 slices of bread, how many layers are in the sandwich?

*Little kids:* Pretend you’re like that piece of cardboard balancing on a pin. Stand on 1 leg, and count until you tip over. See how high a number you can reach! *Bonus:* If you take 3 hours to drive from Topeka (Kansas’ capital) to Lebanon, spend 2 hours balancing on 1 leg at the center of the US, and drive back in the same time it took to drive there, how long does your trip take?

*Big kids:* If Kansas makes 1/5 of all the wheat in the country, and no state makes more than it, can another state make 1/4 of all the wheat in the country? *Bonus:* If the wheat from Kansas can make 36 billion loaves of standard sandwich bread, how many loaves could it make if a baker made the loaves 3 times the size of standard sandwich bread?

*The sky’s the limit:* If a standard loaf of bread has 2 dozen slices, how many 2-slice sandwiches can you make with your 110 loaves from Kansas?

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 4 layers.

*Little kids:* Different for everyone…see how long you can stand on 1 leg! *Bonus:* 8 hours, because 3 + 2 + 3 = 8.

*Big kids:* No, because 1/4 is bigger than 1/5. Bonus: 12 billion loaves, because baking loaves 3 times as big will make 1/3 of the 36 billion loaves, and 36 / 3 = 12.

*The sky’s the limit:* You can make 1,320 sandwiches. Each loaf makes 1 dozen, or 12, sandwiches. Using partial products: 12 x 110 = 12 x 100 + 12 x 10 = 1200 + 120 = 1,320.