I couldn’t help myself. I mean, it IS cooking, and people can’t cook without doing math. So even though I had signed up to lead a cooking elective group, and even though the 14 children who signed up to be in the group were expecting cooking, we were actually mathematizing as much as we were cooking.
There was all the standard math you are expecting, like measuring and running the timer. But at one point in the lesson, after the first batch of cookies had come out of the oven, it came time to see if we were going to have enough. Plans were being made to take some home, of course. “Wait,” I said. “If you want 2 cookies each to make your ice cream sandwich, we have to make sure we have enough for that before you start making plans to take some home. So..do we have enough for that?” And I walked away. Everyone, grade 1-6, started counting each other and counting cookies. A few kids jumped up and ran over to the oven to see how many cookies were in the oven. A few others were checking the bowls to see if we had enough dough for more cookies.
“Well,” I asked again, “do we have enough cookies so that everyone can make an ice cream sandwich?” They agreed we did, and several spoke over the top of each other because they were so excited to justify their answers. These aren’t my regular students, so I have no idea what sort of work they usually do. However, their explanations were great! And I loved that some were counting by 1s and some by 2s and some counted all of the m by 1s or 2s but then said, “We have 14 here, and 13 in the oven, so we need 1 more cookie from the next batch before we have enough for each of us to make a sandwich.”
Next week we’re making pizza. I don’t really intend to turn this into a math club, but we’re probably going to have lots of chances to talk about fractions. Hearing all of the awesome mathematizing was almost as great as my oatmeal cookie + homemade ice cream sandwich! Almost.
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