This Week From Bedtime Math: A Kernel of Truth

The best kind of vegetable is the exploding kind. Things really get popping in today&s Bedtime Math challenge!
By Laura Overdeck
Nov 19, 2013



Nov 19, 2013

What is Bedtime Math? A message from Laura: Bedtime Math is a pretty simple idea: We all know we should read to our kids at night, but what about math? My husband and I have done fun, mischief-loaded math problems with our kids at night for years, and when at age 2 our third child started hollering for his own math problem, we realized we were onto something:  In a world where so many people say, "Ewww, math!" we had created a household culture where kids don't just tolerate math, they actually seek it out. Now, every week, we'll be posting a new problem right here on Scholastic Parents!
That's a pretty big sack of popcorn there, isn't it? And it isn't just ordinary popcorn: it's kettle corn. Kettle corn has a special sweet taste because instead of melted butter, it's coated with a touch of caramel. You make kettle corn by heating the popcorn kernels in oil, sugar, and salt. When sugar melts, that chemical reaction turns it into caramel, which then coats the kernels for that nice brown color. You can buy kettle corn in bags at the store, but if you make your own you get to eat it nice and warm, and your whole kitchen will smell amazing. Here's the recipe for those who want some hands-on math!

Wee ones: If to make kettle corn you need popcorn kernels, oil, sugar, and salt, how many ingredients do you need?

Little kids: If for every 10 kernels you heat, 3 of them don't pop, how many do pop?  Bonus: Once you've cooked your kettle corn, if you grab 12 sticky kernels in your fist and then eat 2 of them, how many pieces do you have left?

Big kids: For each 1/2 cup of kernels you need 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 cup of sugar. How many of either ingredient do you need for a full cup of kernels?  Bonus: How much popcorn do you think is in that bag? If each “layer” has 20 pieces and there are 16 layers, how many pieces are waiting to be eaten?

Wee ones: 4 ingredients.
Little kids: 7 kernels pop.  Bonus: 10 pieces left.
Big kids: 1/2 cup of each.  Bonus: 320 pieces.

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