First, a fun little riddle: if Diana is in the kitchen and the kitchen is in the house, what’s in Diana? A state! Yes, today we’re trekking to Indiana, land of the Hoosiers. Nobody knows where the nickname Hoosier came from, but we know they’re good at basketball. Indiana is home to another famous sporting event, the Indy 500 car race. Even animals get into the act: the Indianapolis Zoo holds a “Zoopolis 500” where tortoises race – sort of – towards a big plate of tasty fruit. Meanwhile, the people are looking around for another snack: Sugar Cream Pie, the state’s unofficially official state pie. This pie has sugar and cream (or milk) of course, as well as butter, cornstarch, and vanilla for a tasty custard filling. Some helpful folks have mapped out a 30-stop Hoosier Pie Trail to help us find as many as we can. We think that’s awfully sweet of them!
Wee ones: If 5 tortoises race in the Zoopolis 500, and Ed the tortoise wins, how many tortoises were slower than Ed?
Little kids: The tortoise race starts on a ramp, then “runs” onto a grass field. If the ramp is 6 feet long and the field is 10 feet long, how long is the whole race course? Bonus: If it takes tortoises 1 minute to go 2 feet, how long will it take them to finish that race course?
Big kids: If the 2019 Zoopolis 500 was the 40th Annual Race, and they’ve never skipped a year, what year did the race start? Bonus: If you eat 1/3 of a Sugar Cream Pie at each of the 30 stops on the tour, how many total pies do you eat?
Wee ones: Ed beat 4 tortoises, because 5 – 1 = 4.
Little kids: 16 feet. Bonus: 8 minutes. You have to find how many 2-foot chunks they race, and 16 / 2 = 8.
Big kids: In 1980, not 1979! If 2019 was the 40th race, the 39th race was 1 year ago, the 38th race was 2 years ago…so the 1st race was 39 years ago. 2019 – 39 = 1980. 40 years ago was the “0-th race,” i.e. the last year that had no race at all. Bonus: 10 pies, because you eat a full pie after every 3 stops. So we find how many 3-stop chunks there are in 30. 30 / 3 = 10.
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.