Today From Bedtime Math: The Coolest Job in the World

Add up some flavors and learn how your child can be an ice cream taster in this fun challenge from Bedtime Math!
By Laura Overdeck
Mar 10, 2015



Today From Bedtime Math: The Coolest Job in the World

Mar 10, 2015

When you think about the jobs your children might have when they grow up, you might not realize they could be paid to be "ice cream tasters." For 26 years, John Harrison has been working for Edy's Ice Cream, tasting small amounts of each batch of ice cream to make sure it tastes good. He's an expert, since his dad, uncle, grandpa and great-grandpa were all in the ice cream business. John checks ice cream first by chopping the carton in half and making sure the chips, nuts and swirls are evenly spread out. Then he tastes a bite in 3 steps: "swirl, smack, and spit." He spits it out because he'd feel sick if he swallowed every bite! Each year only about 100,000 of the 40,000,000 gallons (40 million) turn out not good enough, and those are donated to charity…because by then John's had enough of ice cream.

Now see if your kids can come up with the answers to these ice cream-inspired math problems.

Wee ones: John starts with milder flavors like vanilla, saving stronger flavors like mint chocolate chip for last. If he also tastes Mud Pie and S'mores in between, how many flavors does he taste in total?

Little kids: If a carton should show 16 chocolate chips when sliced but he counts 18, does it have too many chips or too few?  Bonus: If there should be 16 and he counts 5 more than that, how many chips are there?

Big kids: If the fudge swirl is looking too fudgy and he tastes 3 pints from the first 20, then 5 from the next 20, how many pints does he skip tasting?  Bonus: If he tastes 1 out of every 10 pints all day, how many tastes does he get from a batch of 200 pints?

The sky's the limit: John gives a low rating to 1/4 of 1 percent of all pints, or 1/400th of them. If Edy's makes 80,000 pints in a given week, how many will probably turn out okay?
Wee ones: 4 flavors.
Little kids: Too many chips – but we're OK with that!  Bonus: 21 chips.
Big kids: 32 pints, since he tasted 8 out of 40.  Bonus: 20 tastes.
The sky's the limit: 79,800 of them, since there will be 200 duds. To walk through the powers of 10: out of 800 pints, there'd be 2 duds; out of 8,000 there'd be 20; so out of 80,000 there'd be 200 duds.

The Learning Toolkit Blog
Age 13
Age 12
Age 11
Age 10
Age 9
Age 8
Age 7
Age 6
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3
Communities and Ways of Life