Take math off the printed page and into the kitchen with a cooking game. Making math meaningful through real everyday experiences can help children to learn and retain new concepts. Measuring foods, switching up recipes and even holding a cooking contest can turn an ordinary math lesson into an engaging educational activity.
Make it Metric
Help your students learn the metric system via a cooking game. Give each student a recipe card that includes the quantities of ingredients. Time the students to see who can correctly convert the U.S. measurements to metric equivalents the fastest. To add homework to this game, tell the students to ask their parents for a favorite recipe. The students must write out the recipe at home, convert the recipe into metric units and then prepare the recipe, with parental help. Understanding metric conversions within the context of everyday experiences can help your students understand the material better via real-world examples.
Modify the Measurements
Modifying a recipe's measurements can help your students learn about multiplication and division. Modifying a recipe also uses other math concepts such as ratio and proportion. Divide your class into two teams. Give each team the same recipe. Ask the students to make the recipe larger or smaller. For this, they will either multiply or divide the recipe. Have the students work collaboratively to modify the measurements for a larger group; or, alternatively, ask them to modify the measurements for a smaller group. For example, if a lasagna recipe serves six, have the students use multiplication to figure out the quantities they need to serve 12. Older students can use ratios to solve how to feed nine or 15 people. The first team to get the right answer wins.
Learn Fractions With a Pie
By third grade most students should have a solid understanding of fractions, according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Cooking a pie, pizza or cake can help your students understand fractions in everyday life. If you aren't allowed to cook at school, have the students cook at home and then bring their creations to school. Cut the pie -- or a similar circular food -- into pieces. Count the pieces and then create a fraction. For example, take away two pieces of a pie that was cut into eight pieces. Ask the students which fraction of the pie you removed. The first student who gives the correct answer wins the slices to take home.
Draw a Food Graph
A class activity about cooking can introduce data and graphing ideas to your students. Students in first grade and higher can represent and interpret data that falls into three or more categories. Start by playing a game to select the dish the class will make. Poll the class on which foods are their favorites. Create categories for the foods and tally the number of students who fit into the respective categories. Each student can choose a type of graph -- such as a bar or picture graph -- to represent the data. Display the graphs in the classroom. The students will identify the top-rated food on the graph by writing down the name of that food. The first five students to write the answer correctly can select a recipe that will include that food. For example, if apples are the number one food, the students could would choose apple pie, applesauce or another recipe made from apples.
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How Does Math Apply in Cooking?
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