By Deanna Hurn, Founder and Director of Miracle Math Coaching
The cool thing about teaching Math in the kitchen is that you can eat your results. And with the holidays coming up, now’s a perfect time to practice baking skills that double as ways to learn Math. Baking is the perfect teacher because it’s a science – if you’re not precise, your cookies will harden, your pie crust will burn and your cake will fall flatter than a pancake.
Most important, the calculations you do with students in the kitchen will have tangible results in the classroom. They’ll learn fractions, temperatures and measures that will stick with them. The experience will change their schema, which, as we mentioned before, is the collection of emotions, perspectives and abilities they have regarding a topic. There’s a proverb that I like that reinforces this point:
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“Tell me, I’ll forget.
Show me, I’ll remember.
Involve me, I’ll understand.
Plus, your child will likely be eager to learn if you start with his or her favorite dessert.
Here’s another bonus: In my newsletter*, I’ve championed the importance of brain food. What you consume can strongly affect your brain functioning. So we also have the opportunity to improve our brain and cognitive abilities in the kitchen. Examples of these power foods include fish, avocados, broccoli, blue berries and strawberries.
Below is a recipe for Strawberry Cupcakes. Here are three kinds of Math exercises you can do when following this recipe:
Fractions This one is obvious. When you measure ingredients, have students add or subtract fractions. Instead of measuring two-thirds cup of strawberries, start them with a cup of strawberries and ask how much must be taken away to get two-thirds. Or have your child figure out how many tablespoons are in that cup of sugar they’re using.
Problem Solving The recipe makes 18 cupcakes. But what if you’re expecting 24 kids for lunch? Or only 9 kids? How do the measurements change? Without coaching from you, see if your child can adjust the recipe accordingly.
Temperatures If you’re turning on the oven, you’re working with degrees of Fahrenheit. And the easiest way to add Math to the mix is to have your child convert the degrees to Celsius. Use the formula: C = F-32/1.8
- 2/3 cup to 1 cup fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 10 Tbsp. butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Strawberry Cupcake Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2-3 tsp. milk
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- Yield: Makes 18 strawberry cupcakes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease.
- Place strawberries in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. You will need enough strawberries to yield 1/2 cup strawberry puree. Mix strawberry puree with milk and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter 1 minute. Add sugar, beating well. Beat in eggs.
- Alternately add half the strawberry mixture, then half the flour mixture, mixing until blended. Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin tins.
- Bake 20-22 minutes. Cool strawberry cupcakes 10 minutes in muffin tins, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
- Make strawberry cupcake frosting: Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and 1 tsp. of milk. If frosting is too thick, beat in another teaspoon or two of milk until icing reaches desired consistency. Stir in chopped strawberries.
- Frost completely cooled strawberry cupcakes with fresh strawberry icing.
Miracle Math is working on a really cool event involving cooking with a real chef who owns a catering business. Stay tuned for more information. Or, to get the inside scoop, contact us for a FREE Learning Discovery Evaluation to see where your child stands academically and how we might help: Click here to sign up now. Miracle Math Coaching is an award-winning, student-focused service with a track record of boosting academic achievement.