Play That Carrot!

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.

Play That Carrot!

September 28, 2019

If you don’t love every vegetable out there, this guy might change your mind. Junji Koyama has figured out how to take a carrot, a potato, or a head of broccoli, and turn it into a musical instrument. In this video he takes a drill, like you’d use on wood, and drills right into a carrot to make a tube. Then he cuts a notch for the air to come through, and drills tiny holes to play notes. When he blows into it, wow, it’s a carrot flute! Junji also did this with other veggies, played Happy Birthday on each of them, and then ran the videos all at the same time; it sounds pretty amazing — and shows that we SHOULD play with our food.

Wee ones: In “Happy Birthday” Junji plays a carrot, broccoli, potato, and Japanese radish. How many veggies does he play?

Little kids: If Junji plays on his carrot the notes C, E, G, then back to C to repeat, what’s the 7th note he plays?  Bonus: What number note is the 3rd G?

Big kids: If 6 musicians each want 4 of his musical veggies, how many veggies does he have to carve?  Bonus: If the musicians eat 1/3 of their veggies before ever playing them, how many veggies are left to play?

The sky’s the limit: If Junji buys a total of 48 veggies, and there are 4 more broccoli stems than potatoes and 4 more carrots than broccoli stems, how many of each instrument will he have?




Wee ones: 4 veggies.

Little kids: C.  Bonus: The 9th, since it’s the end of the 3rd set of 3.

Big kids: 24 veggies.  Bonus: 16 vegetables, since they ate 8.

The sky’s the limit: 12 potatoes, 16 broccoli and 20 carrots. The mental-math shortcut is that if there are 4 fewer potatoes than broccoli and 4 more carrots than broccoli, that’s the same total as equal numbers of all 3 veggies, which would be 16 of each. That gives us 16 broccoli as before. plus 4 fewer potatoes (12 total) and 4 more carrots (20 total).

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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 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.

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