In our home this is almost never true: math=fun. However, Ann McCallum Books made that happen! We have been using her book Eat Your Math Homework and laughing and learning and eating fun foods all at the same time. We have been having fun learning math!
If you are looking for a hands-on method to teach mathematical concepts and have your kids working with those ideas in a way they will understand, Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds is going to be right up your alley. This is a cook book and a math book rolled into one. With these recipes your students will grasp some pretty advanced concepts and illustrate them for you with their food.
We did each of the lessons as a family and everyone participated. That means we had a 6 year old, a 9 year old, and an 11 year old learning these math concepts. Sometimes, we even had our good friend who is working on her graduate degree in math with us. Now that was fun! She even had fun with this math book.
We modified a couple of the recipes due to food allergies, but that wasn’t hard for us. Each of the recipes were yummy and they were all pretty different. The foods were good and making them was fun, as it brought all of us into the kitchen together.
The lessons included work with the Fibonacci sequence, tessellations, fractions, probability, and more. The girls learned vocabulary words like diameter, circumference, variable, constant, infinite, and pi. There was even more. And they didn’t just get exposure to them. They used these words; they applied them to the food in front of them. So these words became part of their learning through application. We have heard these vocabulary words used outside of the context of the kitchen so I know that there was something learned. Yes, the 6 year old is still trying to figure out the difference between a radius and circumference but she has been exposed to them and seen how they are used. The next time she encounters these words, they will make a lot more sense to her.
Here are some of the results of the lessons, some as they were being made and some just before they were gobbled up:
The lesson on pi fell at a fun time for us, our normal Friday night pizza night. Here one is measuring and another is working with the calculator to see how finding pi works for this size pan.
Fruit is always a favorite snack so it was great fun to play with various sequences on sticks.
Measuring is just an everyday use of math but it is still fun to have all the girls with me in the kitchen to bake something.
The result of that baking was a fun dessert that we got to play with after the math lesson was finished.
Ann McCallum did a great job with this book and I am hoping to get my hands on some of her other Eat Your Homework books soon. There is Eat Your Science Homework and
Eat Your U.S. History Homework, in addition to a couple of other books: Rabbits, Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale and Beanstalk: The Measure of a Giant.
Now, I won’t say that this has made math our favorite subject but the hands on fun definitely added to the acceptance of math in our lives. After all, who doesn’t love some math when you get to make and play with your food!
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