Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Math Literature: Fun with Math at Home

Welcome to this week's edition of Monday Math Literature!  I have been having so much fun the last few weeks playing with the recipes and math ideas in this great book.  

This book includes 7 different recipes that kids and adults can make together.  There are ideas for incorporating math before, during and after cooking.  As part of my quest to get kids playing more I have found a lot of great ideas in this book.

The lesson I want to share with you is called Milk and Tangram Cookies.  It was done with a few upper elementary students who are a bit behind and then some younger students joined us at the end.  Check it out!

These students have had some experience with fractions.  I was concerned about some of their conceptual understanding of fractions and wanted to take this opportunity to review a few big ideas.  Many of the ingredients in the recipe called for half a cup.  I decided to only put out the quarter and eighth cup measuring cups and the half teaspoon and half tablespoon.  This contrives it a bit and helps students review and think about what they know about fraction equivalencies.   

The students read the directions and started thinking about how they were going to use the measuring tools I gave them and still follow the recipe.  

Practicing with measuring, fractions and more. 

It takes two quarter cups to make a half cup. 

We were supposed to bake these in a square pan.  I didn't have a square pan but have several circular and rectangular ones.  The kids problem solved and decided to go with a circular pan.  The directions include a traceable template to help you create tangrams but we just eyeballed it.  Notice how we had to make a square first.  This led to a great discussion about polygons versus non polygons.  

We pre-cut the cookies before putting them in the oven. I highly recommend this because if you make a mistake on the dough, it is easy to fix.  Much of the lines disappear as they bake, but you can still see where they were and it is an easy step to re-cut along the old lines.   

As the cookies were baking, I took a suggestion from the book and gave the kids a paper set of tangrams.  They were highly interested in them knowing that their cookies were going to be like this momentarily.  They spent some time creating different designs as well as composing and decomposing shapes.  

One of several designs.  This one sparked a great discussion about the different angles in the shapes and led to us sorting the shapes by the types of angles they have.  The kids were so impressed that all the triangles had equivalent angles despite being different in size.  Also the parallelogram sparked a great debate about angle size and obtuse versus acute angles.  

We had so much fun exploring more with the cookies that I didn't get to take a lot of pictures.  We repeated some of the ideas we found on the paper tangrams and extended some ideas about angles.  Then we had two primary students join us and the older kids did a little lesson with them on the number of sizes and angles the names of the shapes.  
I love this book and can't wait to try out the last few recipes.  I had the BEST TIME doing the lesson on fraction chips and I think it is an excellent match for any kids who need some more practice or motivation with fractions.  I love having fun with my students and giving them a memorable experience to anchor their math understanding.  This book has been an excellent addition and I am excited about using it in other ways.  It can easily be adapted for older and younger students but I would say the best grade range is 2-5.

If you teach other subjects besides math, there are other books in this series that look just as engaging.

In other Math Maniac news, you can now find me on Instagram.  I will be doing a giveaway over there over the next few days and would love for you to check it out!  My best selling QR code scavenger hunts will be up for grabs so head over to enter!

Also, my newest book study will be starting soon.  We will be looking more at math play.  Head to this blog post to check out all the details.  

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, that looks like so much fun! What a great way to engage your kids.