Pizza Math

Pizza and math are common topics of conversation in this household. As many of you know, two of the inhabitants in this house live, eat, and breathe math. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate math more than I used to, so while I don’t live, eat, and breathe it, I do manage to focus on math several times throughout the day, especially when I am cooking or baking. (Need to increase a recipe by 1.5? I’m your gal.) And pizza? All six of us like pizza. Most of the time when we eat pizza, I hear very few complaints at the dinner table.

The question is, what do we like best about pizza? I can’t speak for Tim, but I like that making it is pretty easy, and if we order it in, I don’t have to cook at all. Aaron would say the best thing about pizza is that 1. he can put bacon on it, and 2. when cut in triangles, the remaining triangles can be arranged in the shape of a fan. (He’s been doing this since he was small, folks.) Zoe and Talia (those who like math the least in this house) would say that pizza just tastes good, and “Can we get the veggie kind from Cousin Vinny’s sometime soon?” What about Melina?

As of the other night, I thought she viewed pizza for what it was: dough, sauce, and cheese. This is the kid who eats bagel pizzas for breakfast each morning and could probably eat pizza several times a week more, if I let her. But on Thursday night, I realized that she just might like pizza for a much deeper reason. Because as I sat at the table checking Aaron’s Algebra homework, I heard Melina say:

This piece of pizza is a rhombus.

I looked up at her. A smile filled the kid’s face as she took a bite from her pizza. Aaron also glanced at her, cocked his eyebrow, and shot back,

But, is it a parallelogram?

Melina rolled her eyes and quirked her lips. I don’t know exactly what she was thinking, I’m not her after all, but I could see the wheels turning. She knew Aaron was trying to catch her.

Of course it is, Aaron. All rhombuses are parallelograms.

From there, the two launched into a discussion of what a parallelogram was. I heard talk about quadrilaterals, parallel lines, and opposite sides. I had to get myself to writing group, so I didn’t have time to dwell on their conversation. But I can tell you this: In third grade, I wasn’t talking about pizza as a geometric shape, and I’m not even sure I knew what a rhombus (or a parallelogram or quadrilateral) was at that age. To me, when I was eight, pizza was a food that I loved, but we rarely had.

I can also tell you this: if pizza inspires conversations like these, I’ll just keep on ordering it.

Image by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay.

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