One of the best ways to engage reluctant math learners is to make math fun and relevant. We use math every single day, but it’s not always clear or obvious to our kids! One way that I use math all the time (usually without even thinking about it) is in the kitchen. Measuring correctly, converting measures, doubling a recipe for the freezer-these are all important ways to apply math in our everyday life and a very easy way to include my kids and teach them real-life math.
And because I LOVE using math stories to introduce and teach important math concepts, I also love the book Pigs in the Pantry by Amy Axelrod! This is part of her “Pigs Will Be Pigs” series, and tells a fun and hilarious tale of the Pigs getting “creative” in the kitchen.
Pigs in the Pantry by Amy Axelrod
If your kids are still little (like mine), I would suggest reading this story together, and talking about the importance of following the recipe and correctly measuring ingredients. Then, get in the kitchen and cook together! Let them help measure. Talk about the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon. Use measuring cups to discuss fractions (i.e. “If I need 1 cup of flour and I’m using the 1/2 cup to measure, then I need 2 of these.”).
If, however, your kids are older and ready for more formal math instruction, do all of the above, and then let them dig a little deeper with these free activities to go along with Pigs in the Pantry!
This download includes a measurement conversion page, as well as a recipe to practice doubling (or halving if they are able) and an activity to look more closely at how Mr. Pig mixes up the recipe in the story, along with some discussion questions. This set also includes answer keys.
I hope this leads to fun discussions and kitchen discoveries, and most of all, fun with math!
What are your favorite things to cook with your kids? Do you take time to explain the math with them as you measure and cook?
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