Math in Cooking: Blend Learning and Holiday Prep

/ / - Holidays, Blog

Have you considered incorporating math in cooking during the holiday season? School activities do not need to be completely thrown to the wayside during Christmas, but they can be changed up. The kitchen is the perfect place to incorporate math as you blend learning and holiday prep.

Practice Telling Time

Time is of the utmost importance when it comes to cooking. Bake your holiday cookies too long, and they are burnt to a crisp. Do not have them under the heat long enough, and they are too gooey to hold up in your hands. Blending math and science is integral when it comes to cooking so make sure you point that out while doing your holiday baking. Forget about the timer on your phone or on the oven and pull out an old-fashioned analog clock. Have your child do the math when you put the cookies into the oven at 2:11 p.m., and they need to cook for eight to eleven minutes. Tell them to write down the time that the cookies should be ready and have them keep an eye on the clock. This will help them work on their math skills and their clock-reading skills at the same time.

Work on Measurements

Basic cooking techniques teach that certain measuring cups are used for dry measurements and others are for liquid measurements. Teach your child the difference between these two types of measurement tools and the difference between a dry ounce and a liquid ounce.

Discuss Temperature

What is the freezing point of water? What about the boiling point? Use these questions as a springboard for a math conversation in the kitchen. Then use a candy thermometer to make hard candy or soft caramel. Temperature is a key factor in the art of candy making and a perfect opportunity to teach math in cooking. Another fun and tasty way to use temperature to incorporate math in cooking is to make homemade ice cream in a bag. Using salt (You can buy large salt crystals at the grocery store labeled as ice cream salt.) in a bag with ice, you can add another bag with cream and sugar. Have your child shake the bag until the cream (or milk) turns to ice cream.  

Culinary Math

In a commercial kitchen, recipes often need to be made on a larger scale. Therefore, culinary math must be used. Though some math might be done ahead of time for the general chef, basic math must be in one’s arsenal. You cannot escape math in the kitchen as it is often used in the following ways.

  • Computation: For both whole numbers and decimals, make sure your child knows he will need addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, converting units, and ratios.
  • Fractions: Multiplying and dividing fractions; dividing wholes into fractions is an important skill.
  • Geometry: Area, volume, and shapes are often used.

Nutritional Labels

Use the holidays to brush up on reading nutritional labels. Want to dig deeper? Having Fun with Food Labels is the perfect resource to learn more about how to use nutritional labels in your homeschool. For the holiday season, stick to the basics. Teach your child how to tally up their daily allowance for Vitamin C and see how much they receive using the nutritional labels on your food items. If you do not tend to use processed foods from the store, many food bloggers are now including this information on their sites. Simply look up a healthy recipe of choice and print out the nutritional label that they have created. The holidays are a time of tradition and the perfect time to look at education different. Does your family have recipes passed down from generation to generation? Use this time of year to work on having your children type these up and convert the measurements if needed. Teach them how to properly abbreviate measurements and focus closely on copying these recipes down, either by hand or on the computer. Copywork is important for math and measurements too! You want writing out fractions (such as ½ a cup) or focusing on the difference between a tablespoon (T.) and a teaspoon (t.) to become second nature for them. Have fun with the recipes in your family by using this time as an opportunity to write these out. Consider even making them and adding in your own pictures of the finished product! Your child might even want to write down some of his own recipes that he can pass down to his own kids one day! Math in cooking can be found in more places than you realize. Relax and have fun cooking in the kitchen while learning at the same time this holiday season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).