There is no more relevant way to bring mathematics into the “real world” than through food. We all consume it, prepare it, talk about it, and some really enjoy doing all these things, too! If food is such a big part of our lives, why not use it as a constant opportunity to talk about math with our children?
Following a recipe is a perfect real-life example of an algorithm. A numbered list of instructions that we need to follow, one at a time, enforces sequencing and is a good introduction to coding.
Measuring ingredients is an easy way to incorporate math talk into cooking and baking because measuring itself is math. Talk out the measurements for ingredients and let your child hold the measuring cups and spoons as you are measuring. Let them count out the numbers. When the measurements are in fractions, talk to them about how many of the fractional elements would make up a whole.
Before measuring, also consider estimating ingredients by using different sized containers. Estimation is one of the most realistic problem-solving concepts we use every single day.
During the cooking process, there are many ways to talk about math concepts. Think about how you arrange items onto a baking sheet or think about shapes that are created with dough or batter.
When the food is already prepared, use it as another opportunity. Arranging food into arrays is one of my favourite ways to incorporate math talk. See my previous post on arrays for more about that.
Bringing fractions into the conversation is easy with questions about sharing or splitting up food into multiple portions.
Shapes are everywhere, also, so don’t forget to talk about the geometry you see in the foods you are eating.
We all have to consume food and it is full of math. Use the opportunity to talk a little bit of math with your kids every day!
Keep spreading the math love <3