Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Snack Math!

So, I had this wild idea to do some snack math with the kids. It was born out of the fact that although I can prepare plenty of meals for the freezer, I have a hard time following through on snacks. Snacks are just snacks and I always have good intentions, but it often gets pushed aside. So, my idea was to use snack freezer cooking as a math activity and to have the kids work with me to get some good snacks into the freezer. We are part way finished with the activity and it's worked pretty well.

J4 loves to count and we counted up lots of sticks. They helped to unwrap them and I cut them in half for the dipping and rolling portion. These are breaded cheese sticks that you bake and eat with tomato sauce. They are a huge hit and lack that fried food problem of the more traditional variety in restaurants. A great snack.

I7 picked the mozzarella sticks. We began by counting them up. Blogger is acting a bit peculiar so pardon the seemingly out of order pictures!

So, the first thing we did was to pick out the snacks we wanted to make. All of the snacks we chose (other than the chocolate chip cookie dough) came from The 30 Day Gourmet. We have had the basic book for years to use for getting meals made ahead of time. There is a whole snack section which I encourage you to check out. If you go to the website and become a member, you'll be able to see some of the recipes (including the mozzarella stix Jana!) The snacks chosen were:
  • frozen peanut butter bars
  • apple squares
  • mozzarella sticks
  • snack mix
  • chocolate cookies/dough
The next step was to determine the ingredients and to see if any of them were in the grocery store sales flyer. I gave student a copy of the worksheet below. It turns out that none of our ingredients were on sale. There was the first lesson. Often, the basics are not on sale.
Let's Go Shopping

The next step was to use the recipes themselves in the grocery store to determine the cost of the snack. Imagine my children, all equipped with clipboards, walking with me in the grocery store in the late afternoon (as things are picking up with the after work crowd joining us) recording the cost and volume for the ingredients on their list. We would come back to these sheets later on.

The next day, I made these sheets below for the various recipes. I made a chart where given the amounts in the original recipe, the kids had to double, triple, and quadruple the recipe and record it in the chart. This was a great exercise in multiplying fractions and in some conversions.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Multiples

Frozen Peanut Butter Bar Multiples

The original recipes are written out (Click there to see an example of a recipe- that one happens to be fried rice I think) into those large multiple amounts so it was easy to check our answers.

E11 went so far as to determine the cost of the original recipe. He used the price and volume from the product and did the math looking at how much was required of the recipe to determine the total cost of the snack. We were surprised at the initial amount for the frozen peanut butter bars!

This was a terrific exercise in using math in real life ~ living math! We will finish calculating the cost for the rest of the snacks and we'll make them all. Healthy snack right from our freezer and the kids will know the value of the cookie they make compared to the cost of the ones at the store. And they taste better too!


Sarah said...

This is brilliant.

Heather said...

Thank you Sarah! Once in a while I enjoy originality in my assignments. This was one of them. :)

Julie said...

Fabulous teaching! Thanks for sharing, Heather.