Last week I shared a quick and easy recipe for Orange Chocolate Bars that are a fun afterschool treat. Recently though, this same recipe served as a “school’s in session” lesson about which the boys were none the wiser.
R’s school uses an informal style of learning, which basically extracts learning from genuine settings, not just drills and worksheets. In a recent math homework lesson, there was a letter to parents explaining that it is important for children to relate numbers to real world examples. So for this particular lesson, the students were using clocks and thermometers to learn about numbers.
This school homework sheet got me thinking about how anytime I cook with the boys, I have a great opportunity to help them learn more about numbers and math. And so, with this idea in mind, I realized all the great lessons you can teach with a simple recipe, like the Orange Chocolate Bars:
*Counting: As you add multiple tablespoons, teaspoons or cups of an ingredient, count out loud, or allow the child to count for you.
*Fractions: ½ cup, 1/3 cup or ¼ cup are good simple fractions to start sharing the concept of fractions or portions. Try showing children how two ½ cups add up to one cup.
*Addition: Make the recipe a simple story problem “We need 3 cups of flour. We have two cups in the bowl. How many more do we need to add?”
*Temperature: When preheating the oven, explain the difference in temperatures of certain recipes.
*Time: While perhaps the time that passes between placing a batch of chocolate bars in the oven and them being ready to eat may feel like an eternity, following the timer can give children a concept of time.
As children grow older and are ready to take on more responsibilities in the kitchen, their ability to learn further about math, and even science expands. So if you need another excuse to bake something in your kitchen, perhaps use the excuse to play teacher with your children.