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# Math in the Kitchen: Fun Food-Themed Activities for Learning Math

Your kids have just completed a series of math problems correctly. Hooray! But what if they could eat their results? Well, they can if your math lesson is based in the kitchen! By incorporating food-themed activities, kids can grasp concepts like numbers, measurements, and fractions in a hands-on way, producing delicious results. Who knows? You might even have some aspiring chefs or bakers on your class roster.

Numerous math skills can be practiced using food items. It all depends on the grade level of your students as to which ones you incorporate. Here is a list of skills that can be practiced through food-themed math activities:

• Basic arithmetic for measuring and converting ingredients
• Fractions for adjusting recipes and measuring ingredients
• Unit conversions for converting between different measuring units (i.e., ounces to grams, cups to milliliters)
• Estimation skills for approximating ingredient quantities (i.e., pinch, splash, dash).
• Geometry for understanding shapes and sizes of foods and cutting and shaping ingredients
• Multiplication and division for increasing or decreasing the number of servings
• Temperature knowledge for adjusting oven or stovetop settings
• Time management for multitasking and coordinating cooking times for multiple dishes

## Looking for fun food-themed activities for learning math? Try these!

### Fraction Pizza:

Kids can create their own mini pizzas using English muffins. First, they’ll need to divide the number of servings needed (i.e., one half English muffin per student) by two to determine how many English muffins are needed. Next, each English muffin will be sliced in half. Then students will use a spoon to spread ⅛ cup of tomato sauce on their pizza. They will sprinkle ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese and place 3 pepperoni on top. Finally, bake the pizzas at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. (Credit to Kid Made English Muffin Pizzas‒Mess for Less for the recipe idea.)

Looking for a fun way to combine playtime with learning? Dig out that playdough! We’re having a playdough pizza party – with a twist! Your child will be the star chef, creating their own masterpiece while learning valuable math concepts along the way.

### Edible Place Value:

Use saltine crackers to represent hundreds, pretzel sticks for tens, and miniature marshmallows for ones. Students roll three dice (or a dice three times) to create three-digit numbers and demonstrate the number using their food items. At the end of the activity, kids get to eat their crackers, pretzels, and marshmallows. If only one number is created at a time, each student will need six of each food item (because six is the highest number on the die). If comparing two three-digit numbers, students will need twelve of each item, plus two more pretzel sticks to use as a greater than, less than, or equal symbol. (Thanks to Favorite Subject! – Amy Lemons for the idea!)

### Graphs of Deconstructed Trail Mix:

Provide each student with a serving of trail mix in a bag or bowl and a plate or paper towel for them to use to deconstruct the trail mix, grouping it by each ingredient. Students tally the number of each food item found within their serving. They use this data to create a bar graph or pictograph. Students could bring in assigned food items to mix together to create the trail mix. Ingredient ideas include cereal, pretzel twists or sticks, marshmallows, chocolate, white, or butterscotch baking chips, bagel chips, jelly beans, skittles, M&M candies, Swedish fish, peanuts, goldfish crackers, etc.

### Edible Domino Doubles:

If practicing doubles up 1‒9, each student will need 2 ¼ graham crackers broken into fourths. Students use a plastic knife to spread a thin layer of icing across each piece, keeping a blank line in the middle to make it look like a domino. Display a picture of a typical domino-dot formation. Using chocolate, white chocolate, or butterscotch chips, students create doubles on each graham cracker piece. Have them count aloud for the double equations as they create their dominoes. For example, three plus three equals six. (A shout-out for the idea goes to http://crayonbits.blogspot.com/2011/11/domino-doubles-snack.html

### Candy Button Arrays:

Use candy button strips (also known as candy dots) to practice multiplication and division arrays. With the dots already organized in lines, students can circle or cover sections of the strip with a note card to create different-sized arrays. Then they can record various multiplication and division equations based on those arrays.

### Edible Word Problems:

Provide a food item for kids to use as a manipulative when solving word problems. The fun part is that they get to eat the food item if the equation includes subtraction! Ideas include blueberries, grapes, or goldfish crackers.

### Cheesy Area and Perimeter:

Have students use Cheez-it crackers to create squares, rectangles, and irregular polygons. They will record the area and perimeter of each shape before rearranging the crackers to form a new shape.

For more pretend play activities related to food, check out this free resource.

### Here are a few tips when incorporating food into your math lesson:

• Start by giving everyone hand sanitizer or having them wash their hands.
• Be sure to read all labels carefully if any students have food allergies. If they can be around the food but just not eat it, have an alternative for them to use.
• Have extra food items on hand. Just because a bag of goodies says it contains a certain number of pieces doesn’t always mean it does. Also, sometimes pieces are broken, which can leave kids feeling upset or unable to complete the activity. So it is best to always have more than enough supplies (plus, you can snack on the extras!).
• Paper plates are great for students to place their snacks on.
• For easy clean-up from a messy activity, cover desks with plastic wrap before starting.
• Wet paper towels or baby wipes work well for cleaning sticky hands and surfaces if your classroom doesn’t have a sink.
• Provide gloves for students with sensory issues.
• Having snacks in the classroom can often make kids thirsty, so be sure they have a drink to go with the activity. A cup or little bottle of water should do the trick.

By incorporating math with food-themed activities, mathematical concepts can become more understandable and enjoyable. The hands-on approach can help learners develop a strong foundation in math while creating delicious results. Get ready to whip up some tasty treats and unforgettable learning moments with your kids!

Want to know more?

## ORIGO Education

ORIGO Education has partnered with educators for over 25 years to make math learning meaningful, enjoyable and accessible to all.