I’m spending some time in my kitchen today ferociously whisking and measuring as I prepare some sweet treats for the special humans in my life. The educator in me can’t help but think of all the fun ways to talk about teaching fractions while I’m making cookies and brownies. In fact the kitchen is a great place to introduce and support multiple areas of education! For the sake of today’s post, we will stick to fractions.
Recipes are a great way to introduce reading and understanding fractions. Reading numbers can be hard for students and getting in some extra practice while baking with a loved one is a great opportunity for all students, especially the young ones. Having your student work with you in the kitchen and read the recipe with you is a great way to show them first hand how important it is to have a firm understanding of mathematical concepts.
Lets say this is the recipe we’re using:
Ask your child to read the ingredients to you. Listen as they read and make sure they are reading the fractions correctly. For example, as we can see above this recipe calls for two and one third cups of flour. As your student is reading, be sure that they are stating the fraction correctly. Two and one third cups is a very different amount when compared to two-thirds of a cup. If you choose you can even have a pencil and scratch paper handy to help you illustrate the differences in another way if you see necessary. You may choose to state some fractions or mixed numbers and ask your student to write them on the scratch paper too.
Don’t be afraid to pull out a selection of measuring cups and spoons too to help your child visualize the difference in sizes. It can be helpful for a child to have something to look at when you say that 1/3 is smaller than 1/2. This concept can be abstract for students and allowing them to hold something in their hands and examine it is a great way to help them grasp that concept.
Another great activity is to allow your student to play with the measuring cups. Ask them to use the 1/4 cup measure and fill the 1 cup measure. Ask them how many full scoops of the 1/4 cup measure they needed to fill the 1 cup measure. Have them repeat this activity with the 1/2 cup and 1/3 cup measure. What did your student notice? This activity is a great intro to a discussion. Have fun and see where the conversation leads.
I love my stainless steel measuring cups, if you would like to add something similar to your kitchen, try these.