Fractions and Recipes

Students WorkingCombining a fractions lesson and recipes is a natural combination. It connects the real world with a student’s learning. For the past month or so, my students have been learning about fractions: what they are, adding, subtracting, and multiplying them. Combine that with a teacher who is easily board with the norm, and you get a FANTASTIC lesson. One in which students ASK, “Can we work on our Recipe Project now?” Yes, students wanting to learn and were engaged.

What did we do? Well, we found some recipes. Okay, actually I found them in a cookbook that I had, from when I was a kid. They definitely weren’t the most healthy, but they were kids’ cookbooks, and worked well. I went through and found several recipes that involved fractions. Some had 2 fractions, others had 5 or more and included mixed numbers. Our student teacher handed out the recipes. Because there were various difficulties with the recipes, this allows the teacher to differentiate based on a student’s ability. The students were allowed to work together, but must hand in his/her own paper. The students had to: list the original ingredients, double the original recipe, cut the original recipe in half, and then make exactly 28 servings – one for each student, the student teacher, and myself. This took a few days. Fortunately, I do have a student teacher in my room so we were both able to filter around and help struggling students. Once they were done with the math portion, they had to create a presentation to show off to the class – and put in their ePortfolios.

We worked on this project for 3 or 4 days, including polishing the presentations. Each day the students would ask, “Can we work on our Recipe Project now?” Even the most reluctant, insecure math student was completely engaged. There were students strewn throughout the classroom at desks, under desks, and sprawled out on the floor. One group of boys worked outside to create a cardboard oven for their presentation. Other students chose to use Animoto and Google Presentation. They projected their ‘work in progress’ presentations on a big screen TV to get input from others. The room was so engaged and buzzing with creativity and learning, I HAD to call my principal down to see. He was impressed, and began asking the students questions about fractions, their algorithms, and gave suggestions for their presentations. The lesson was such a hit, my students told the other 5th grade teacher that she HAD to do it with her class, because it was so much fun. My students were happy to hear that her students had begun the project too.

Presentations will be next week. I admit, this was so much fun and worthwhile, that I am on the hunt for more lessons like this. Anything I can do to engage my students, I will. THIS is what Common Core is about: the four C’s. And this lesson had them all! Here is the lesson: Adjust a Recipe

This group will be incorporating an Animoto video into their presentation. Last week, they were practicing what they were going to say along with their video.

Yes, I found the lesson online. It is my belief that there is a plethora of information, lessons, and ideas out there. I do not need to reinvent the wheel. I am thankful to all who FREELY share. In turn, I FREELY share what I have found, my knowledge, and lessons I create. We are all here to help one another, and to help our students learn.

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