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Smart Home: Double the Math Lesson Making Zucchini Strips!

 I wanted to make these delicious sounding zucchini strips I saw on SkinnyTaste.com.  It was a rainy Wednesday afternoon. My daughter had been in school all morning and then refused to nap. You know the kind of day I’m talking about.  She wanted to “help” me in the kitchen. I figured why not. It was a good way to use up some of her energy!

It was a great recipe, a very easy recipe, a very kid friendly recipe. Measuring breadcrumbs. Measuring cheese. Cracking open an egg.  I did take over when it was time to separate the egg white!  That was it.  She took the zucchini strips that I had cut and dipped them into the egg white, dropped them into the breadcrumb bag, shook the bag and carefully placed them on the baking sheet.  She loved it. We baked them and ate them. It was an easy, kid-friendly recipe that used up some energy!

Now I took it a step further, beyond the cooking with mommy activity, I made a math lesson.  Naturally I mentioned numbers as we counted the zucchini strips or tablespoons of cheese.

Let’s count the zucchini strips.

Look, this is ½ a cup see how it’s larger than ¼ cup.

How many eggs do we need?

Just mentioning the numbers helps a preschooler develop numbersense, the understanding of numbers and how they relate to each other and the world around us.  As she’s a preschooler I’m not about to begin a lesson on fractions, I am simply talking about how the number represents the ingredient quantities. She loved it. She was pulling out the other measuring cups wanting to know how to say the number.

I took it a step further this time. I went beyond reading the numbers.  I introduced a new word/concept, DOUBLE. We enjoyed the zucchini strips so much that she said that we needed to make more for when Daddy gets home.  I told her we needed to DOUBLE the recipe. You can imagine the look she gave with that word. “What’s DOUBLE?” came out of her mouth in seconds.  I sat there wondering how on earth I would explain DOUBLE to a 3 ½ year old.  We took out the recipe, the measuring cups, and even some of the ingredients and I showed her.  DOUBLE means two times was the only verbal explanation I could think of.

I took out the carton of eggs. I took one out and explained that this is how many we need when we make one batch of the recipe. I took out another. I asked her, “How many eggs would we need if we wanted to make the recipe AGAIN?”  She understood that and quickly answered, “2!.” That’s it, 2 is DOUBLE of 1!  How about the 3 zucchinis? How many zucchinis would we need if we wanted to DOUBLE the recipe, make the recipe twice? She thought and together counted with me 6! I wrote out the word DOUBLE. We spelled it together and we used it several times in the course of that mini math lesson. I used the word throughout the rest of the afternoon for reinforcement.

Would you like one cookie for dessert or double that amount?

I’m going to DOUBLE the amount of bubbles in the bathtub today!

At night when she was picking out her 2 books to be read, she asked me if I could read DOUBLE tonight. She quickly continued to tell me that that meant 4 books!  Not bad for a very impromptu lesson!

Need some help linking math to cooking.  Below is an assortment of great books that share recipes and strategies to make your kitchen a math class, all while having fun!

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2 comments

  1. Caroline Mukisa 31 August, 2010 at 03:54 Reply

    That looked like fun! I’m a great fan of mixing maths and food- counting choc chips or raisins and measuring ingredients. I have actually started introducing fractions to my 3yr old. His sandwiches are always cut into quarters and his pancakes into eighths, and we count the pieces before eating!

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