Making Toys out of Chocolate

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Making Toys out of Chocolate

January 13, 2015

The 3D printer is a pretty exciting invention. Instead of just making designs on paper with wet black ink, it prints with hot melted plastic, which it squirts out in layers to build shapes coming up off the table. It can make cubes, spirals, or any 3-dimensional shape you draw on your computer. So it didn’t take long for someone to try putting chocolate in there. Candy company Hershey has jumped into the game with the CocoJet, a printer that prints with melted chocolate. As you can see in this video, the arm that holds the chocolate moves side to side and back to front to squirt the chocolate in the right spots. If you switch from dark chocolate to milk or white, you can even make designs in different “colors.” The question is, when you make some awesome shape like the one here, will you want to save it, or eat it?

Wee ones: If you print a shape with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate, how many chocolate colors is that?

Little kids: If you print a stripey chocolate Slinky where the 1st layer is dark chocolate, the 2nd is milk, the 3rd is white, then back to dark chocolate to repeat, what flavor/color is the 7th layer?  Bonus: What number layer is the next dark chocolate one?

Big kids: If you can print a mini chocolate soccer ball with 4 ounces of chocolate, how many ounces would you need to print 6 of them?  Bonus: How many complete balls could you make out of 2 pounds 6 ounces of chocolate? (Reminder: A pound has 16 ounces.)

The sky’s the limit: The chocolate shape shown here is an icosahedron: it has 20 identical triangle sides, where all edges and angles are equal. How many edge bars does the printer have to print in total?




Wee ones: 3 chocolate colors.

Little kids: Dark chocolate, like all numbers that are 1 more than a multiple of 3.  Bonus: The 10th.

Big kids: 24 ounces.  Bonus: 9 balls, since you have 38 ounces and 36 is the biggest even multiple of 4 within that.

The sky’s the limit: 30 bars. If the triangles all stood alone without touching, they’d have 60 edges in total (20 x 3). But every edge is shared by 2 triangles, so together the 20 triangles needs only half as many edges as that.

And thank you Chad R. for sharing this awesome revolutionary product with us!

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

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 while still in diapers, 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.

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