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December Means Food (and lots of it!)

by Early Math Counts

Recipes, cooking, and food experiences are the focus of Thursday’s Themes for December 2013.  I think this is a good follow-up to November’s Theme of Weighing and Balancing since we definitely don’t want to weigh anything (especially ourselves) during this month of festivity.

I recently spent some time observing 2 groups of young children as they used recipes to cook banana bread and make silly putty.  Although both activities were well-planned, organized, and executed, the silly putty activity included so much more math because the teacher used a recipe card that was designed for children.

So what makes a good recipe for young children?

1.  Images of the ingredients- these should look exactly like the ingredients that you will be using so the children can recognize them immediately.  It isn’t helpful to have a picture of a box of salt and then to use a bowl of salt when you are actually cooking.

2.  Large, easy-to-read numbers and quantities –  Whole numbers are best.

3.  Visual representations of quantity – If you are using a measuring cup or spoon, be sure to have those measuring tools represented on the recipe card.

4.  Instructions should be written in single words and pictures.  You don’t have to write, “Stir all the ingredients together.”  Simply write “Stir” with a picture depicting “stirring.”   The message will be clear and the children will understand what is expected.

This is a picture of the Silly Putty Recipe Card that was just perfect for the children.  This teacher created her own recipe card and took pictures of each item needed in the recipe.  The children followed along closely as they each made their own batch of silly putty.  Brilliant.

Silly Putty Recipe Card

One Reply to “December Means Food (and lots of it!)”

  1. This activity was great as it demonstrated the power of graphic visual images for children and in following the “recipe” card a child might be able to see if they had made an error as they individually counted together

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