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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Fractions - Recipe project

Fractions - Recipe project

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I want to teach the students a real life way to use fractions with cooking recipes. I also want them to convert the recipe so they can use the skill of adding fractions. Has anyone done something similar to this? I'm looking for ideas as to how to get it started, make a rubric, and wondering whether to make it an in class or home project. Thanks!

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Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

We did a hand's on measurement activity which used fractions. Students had the job of creating lemonade in quantity when they had only the recipe for one glass. It uses three different ingredients (water, sugar syrup, lemon juice), and the kids loved squeezing the lemons for the juice. Each pair of students rolled a die to decide whether to double or triple (even numbers double, odd numbers triple). By using fractional amounts for the base quantities, you can have your students multiplying fractions to find their goal measurement.


Twila Busby's picture

We have done a baking project with students in 6th grade (brownies)and 8th grade (low fat blueberry bran muffins)and it has gone equally well in both grades. We find a recipe that we would like to use and then make several versions, each of which makes a different amount of servings (other than 12). The students' task is to then to enlarge or reduce the recipe to make 12 servings. Differentiation is possible because you give more advanced students the recipe that serves 19 and struggling students the recipe that serves 6 or 24. We then have a store where students must purchase the ingredients they need using a set amount of money, (more math) and then follow the directions to bake. Just as an added trick, our cafeteria has convection ovens which means they cook in 2/3 the amount of time.

Dr. Tanya Swygert's picture
Dr. Tanya Swygert
Elementary Remedial Math Teacher

A couple of years ago, I did a fractions lesson with 5th graders. Their task was to compare different chocolate chip cookie recipes. This also improved their reading skills and allowed us to introduce comparison of fractions. After our research, we decided on a recipe and then decided how we had to increase the recipe so that every student could have 4 cookies each. There were 18 students in the class and the recipe originally made 3 dozen cookies. We baked the cookies in the school cafeteria under the supervision of our Food and Nutrition Manager. Afterwards, we had the kids write about their experience. Recently, I tweaked the lesson plan for my gifted endorsement class. I used information about Willy Amos, creator of Famous Amos Cookies, as my introduction that math is "all about the money"? My essential question was "Will your Fraction Action make you more famous than Amos?" I also read the book Fraction Action by Loreen Leedy.

Christine's picture
5th grade General Ed teacher in Self-contained Inclusion classroom

We had the kids work in pairs to create their own pizza that they then shared (toaster ovens are a blessing!). They had to work together to decide what fraction of their pizza was to be covered with each topping and then had to make their pizzas. My co-teacher worked that station and then pushed on them to help them review equivalent fractions.

Jayne Williams's picture
Jayne Williams
Retired Math teacher in North Carolina.

I have done exactly what you are looking for.
1. Secure multiple recipes, mount on 5x8 index cards, laminate and separate into categories: appetizers, entrees, breads, drink, desserts, vegetables
2. Divide your class into groups of 5 so each person chooses a part of the menu. (bread and drink can be done by one person)
3. Each part of the menu needs to be separated into one serving (division of whole numbers and fractions).
4. Each group decides who they want to do a banquet for. (at least 50 participants)
5. Take the one serving of each ingredient and multiply by how many chosen participants. (multiplication of whole numbers and fractions)
6. Each group has to give you a complete grocery list and budget for their menu. a. students go to the store to see how each ingredient is packaged and the cost; b. students create a table listing ingredient, amount of one serving, amount for banquet, how packaged, size of package, amount of package, subtotal amount for ingredient, total for menu

7. Each person handed in a folder which included: their group menu, their individual recipe, their summary table and their group participation record.
( I have form templates for these.)

Tips: I had each person in the group keep a daily confidential participation record of the members of their group. This record was part of each person's grade.

I hope this gives you enough detail to get started.

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