…because it was doing Bedtime Math’s 50 States of Math road trip! It may have been heading back home to Delaware. Sure, this little state is the 6th densest (most crowded) state with people. But thanks to the loads of chicken farms there, Delaware has *200 times* as many chickens as people. No wonder the state bird is the Blue Hen, and one of Delaware’s nicknames is the Blue Hen State. Funny, that’s not what their license plates brag about…there they proudly call themselves The First State, because Delaware was the first to sign the U. S. Constitution (our first U.S. laws). Finally, Delaware is the first to serve up Fisher’s Popcorn – they’ve been making caramel popcorn in Ocean City since 1937. One more reason to cross the road into Delaware!

*Wee ones: *Chickens walk on 2 legs just like we do. Take 4 steps forward, and say “BAWK!” like a chicken with each step.

*Little kids: *If you eat 3 bites of caramel popcorn and 4 bites of regular salted popcorn, how many bites do you eat in total? *Bonus: *If the 3rd kernel you grab didn’t pop, then the 6th, then the 9th…what kernel do you think is the next dud to fit the pattern?

*Big kids: *If Fisher’s Popcorn opened in 1937, in what year did it celebrate its big 50th birthday? *Bonus: *When you make caramel popcorn, each 1/2 cup of kernels needs 1/4 cup of sugar. How much sugar do 2 cups of kernels need?

*The sky’s the limit: *If you eat 1/2 of a bag of popcorn on the 1st day, 1/4 of what’s left on the 2nd day, and 1/3 of what’s left on the 3rd day, what fraction of the original bag is left on the 4th day?

Answers:

*Wee ones: *Yes, it’s silly, but let’s try it: Bawk, bawk, bawk, bawk!

*Little kids: *7 bites. *Bonus: *The 12th kernel, since we add 3 to each number to get the next.

*Big kids:* 1987. 37 + 50 = 87, so 1937 + 50 = 1987. *Bonus: *1 cup of sugar, since you need 4 times as much.

*The sky’s the limit: *1/4 bag is left on the 4th day. On the 2nd day you eat 1/4 of the 1/2 cup remaining; 1/4 of 1/2 = 1/8, so when you take that away, you have 4/8 – 1/8 = 3/8 left for the 3rd day. On the 3rd day, eating 1/3 of 3/8 is equal to eating 1/8 (if you have 3/8, then a third of that is just 1 of the 3 chunks). So you have 3/8 – 1/8 = 2/8, which is the same as 1/4 remaining for the 4th day.

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.