Friday, April 11, 2014

Cookin' Up Some Math

Fact: Every lesson is better if it involves food. Students are engaged, motivated, and really well-behaved because they know they don't get to eat said food if they act otherwise! :) I try to find every excuse I can to use food or candy in my teaching, and I've gotten to be quite good at it. My most recent under-taking was making Slow Cooker Brownies for our fractions unit. (I originally called them Crock Pot Brownies, but didn't want to send the wrong message if somehow they were telling their parents about it and forgot the "crock" part.) Since the kids are only in First grade, the fraction knowledge that they have and need to know is still basic.. how to read a fraction, how to write a fraction, and how to compare basic fraction visuals. Since my students are very gifted in Math, I took it a step further and had them adding and simplifying basic fractions (ex: 1/4 + 1/4 = 2/4 = 1/2). Most of them have a really good number sense and know their doubles/halves and were really impressing me with how quickly they picked this up!
To do this activity, I found a slow-cooker brownie recipe on line and then just modified it to add in Math.
Since not all of my students are advanced or at the abstract number level yet, I included blank fraction pictures for visual representation. I made them write all fractions in simplest form and explained that it was easier to only have to measure once instead of twice. Some got it, some didn't, but at least they've been exposed to it for future instruction!
I don't know how to upload a Word Doc or a PDF. If you'd like a copy of this, just let me know and I'll email it to you! 
Once they had done all of the math, we went to the cafeteria to mix up the brownies. I love when they can see Math (or any subjects) being used in "real life" and they had some great student-led discussions about making sure the measuring cups were all the way full, the importance of following the proper sequence, etc. The hardest part was the two hours we had to wait for them to cook! But boy, oh boy, did that cafeteria ever smell yummy!

My crock-pot is pretty small, so they came out a little more cakey than brownie-y, but they were still SUPER tasty! We had no problem finishing off the whole pan... of course, we did share with the whole elementary and all the teachers! :) 
The next week week we learned about measurement and for a review of capacity we made Rice Krispie Treats. It's the end of the 3rd quarter.. don't judge me. :) I'm also responsible for teaching them life long skills, and this is definitely one of those.
Like I said, they're always FULLY engaged when food is involved!
A little taste of home.
Aside from doing these yummy lessons, the best part about teaching 1st grade is that all of the pictures they take come from such a flattering angle. :)  
We demolished those.

1 comment:

  1. You should post more often. I miss your posts. ;)