Kitchen Math – Baking Brownies
It’s no surprise when kids groan at the mention of math homework. From the most mundane to the most ingenious, the little ones are able to come up with any number of excuses to escape a math test or pop quiz. (Tummy ache, again? Let’s get original!) But when math is seamlessly integrated into fun everyday activities, you might get a different reaction form your little learners. For example, try exploring math concepts in the kitchen to show your kids that math can be fun and rather delicious!
Baking Brownies – The Recipe:
(makes 20 servings)
- Sugar – 2 cups
- Butter – 1 cup
- Cocoa powder – ½ cup
- Vanilla extract – 1 teaspoon
- All-purpose flour – 1 ½ cups
- Baking powder – ½ teaspoon
- Salt – ½ teaspoon
- Walnut pieces – ½ cup
- Mix all the ingredients in the melted butter.
- Spoon out the batter and put it in your baking dish. Don’t forget to grease or line your dish with parchment paper to ensure that the batter doesn’t stick and comes out easily when done.
- Bake at 350ºF for about 20 minutes.
- To check whether your brownies are done, use a toothpick and insert it in the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, with none of the gooey chocolaty goodness sticking to it, you know your brownie is ready. If not, then keep the batter in for a few more minutes.
- Wait for your brownie batter to cool before taking it out of your baking dish.
- Once out, cut equal-sized brownie pieces of any shape you like – squares, rectangles, triangles!
- All you need now is a glass of cold milk! Bon appetite!
Baking and Cooking – Where’s the Math?
Almost every step in the above recipe can be linked to an important math concept. Encourage your child to try out this recipe with your supervision and be ready to help wherever you might be required. Remember to highlight the math concepts detailed below as you and your child work through each step.
The first step to baking the brownies is getting your ingredients ready. For the brownies to come out perfectly, you must ensure that all the ingredients are perfectly measured out. Depending on the item being used, liters, cups, teaspoons are all different kinds of measurements. Remind your kids that measurements and conversions are some of the most crucial math concept when it comes to cooking.
Tweaking the recipe to serve the number of people actually required is another important area in the cooking process that kids may need to use their math skills for. For example, if you want to make only half the quantity for your family, ask your child to use half the amount of each ingredient. (Yes, they are probably going to be astonished at how much math one needs to use to make a good, no, delectable dish!)
Especially in the case of brownies, it is important to set the oven at the right temperature. Depending on your child’s learning level, you might want to use the need to preheat the oven as an opportunity to ask your child to convert degrees in Fahrenheit to Celsius.
If you are changing the quantity that you are baking, will the time it needs to cook decrease? Ask your child to observe and make a note of the time that it actually takes for the brownies to bake. Ask them to remember the start time and the end time to calculate the total duration the brownies were in the oven.
- Angles and Shapes:
Once the brownies are ready, it’s time to cut and serve! Let your child get creative if she wants to. What shape would she like to cut her brownies? This is where basic geometry can come into play. If you want square pieces, you child will need to ensure that all the sides are of the same length. For rectangles, again make sure that all the rectangles she cuts out have the same length and width. And finally, if she’s cutting triangular pieces, then angles play an important role. Have her measure out the same degree for all the triangles.
Kitchen math is a great way to not only teach kids different math concepts but to also do it in a fun and interactive way. Examples like these also highlight the importance of the subject and various math concepts in everyday life. Relating math to everyday activities will help kids realize the relevance of these concepts and make them more interesting.