Well, Shucks

by Derek Stump

Do you love corn on the cob? Before you can cook corn on the cob, you have to “shuck” it. That means yanking off the corn’s husk (those papery green leaves) and brushing away the brown silk strings. It’s kind of like peeling a banana. But do you think you could peel 9 or 10 bananas – or shuck the same number of ears of corn – in just 1 minute? That’s how one 4-person team just got in the record books! This food truck crew shucked 38 ears of corn in 1 minute to beat the previous record of 31. We don’t know what they have planned for their next world record, but we – just like the corn – are all ears.  

Wee ones: Can you count all the ears of corn in the picture? Point and count, left to right! 

Little kids: If there are 3 people at a table and there are 2 more ears of corn than people ears at the table, how many ears of corn must be at the table? Bonus: If you’re shucking 7 ears of corn and have finished 3 ears, are you at least halfway done?

Big kids: If 3 members of the 4-person team each shucked 9 ears of corn, how many ears did the 4th member shuck to reach their record-breaking 38? Bonus: It’s barbecue time! If each person gets to eat 2 ears out of the 38, how many more people can the 4-person team invite to chow down on corn? 

The sky’s the limit: While the shuckers shuck, the grillers grill and the eaters eat. If the shucking team can keep up shucking 74 ears every 2 minutes, the grilling team grills 100 ears every 4 minutes, and the eating team eats 99 ears every 3 minutes, who’s waiting around for whom? 


Wee ones: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ears of corn! 

Little kids: 8 ears of corn, because 3 people with 2 ears each makes 2 + 2 + 2 = 6 ears. Bonus: No, after you have shucked 4 of 7 ears you will be at least (more than) halfway done. 

Big kids: 11 ears of corn. 3 x 9 = 27 ears, and 38 – 27 = 11 ears. Bonus: 15 more people. The team will eat 8 (4 x 2) out of the 38, leaving 30 more ears.

The sky’s the limit: Everyone is waiting for the grillers. The shuckers shuck 37 ears a minute, but the grillers grill only 25 of them each minute, while the eaters could eat more than that – 33 ears. (But the eaters shouldn’t start eating the raw corn – yuck! Better to wait.)

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