Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Math: an eclectic blend

I'll let you in on a secret ... our math program around here includes such heretical items as workbooks and math fact sheets! Yep, occasionally I fall back on the old standbys of drill-and-kill for learning math.

BUT, and this is a big but ....

we also do lots of other odd things to learn math. I try to help my children love while learning the math. I don't want them to think (as I did) that math is just a bunch of numbers that get bigger or smaller, depending on what we're doing to them. Math becomes removed from reality. But this is far from reality.

Math CAN be exciting ... and fun ... and well, USEFUL!

For instance, we do lots of cooking math around here: when cooking/baking some item, we practice fractions (adding, subtracting, multiplying, substituting), relational sizes, volume, etc, etc. Yesterday is a great example of our eclectic math style -- for Thanksgiving, we made two different kinds of bread: pumpkin-pecan and cranberry. Here are the recipes we used for these delightful concoctions:

Cranberry Thanksgiving Cranberry Bread
(makes one loaf)
Preheat oven to 350
2 c flour
1 c sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 c butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp grated orange peel
3/4 c orange juice
3 c fresh cranberries, chopped

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, orange juice all at once. Stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Add cranberries.Spoon into a greased 9x5 loaf pan (or 6 small loaves). Bake for 1hr and 10 minutes (less for small loaves) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread
· 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
· 4 eggs
· 1/2 cup vegetable oil
· 1/2 cup melted butter
· 2/3 cup water
· 1 cup white sugar
· 1 cup brown sugar
· 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 cup wheat flour
· 2 teaspoons baking soda
· 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
· 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
· 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
· 1/2 to 1 cup raisins
· 1/2 to 1 cup walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Dredge the raisins and walnuts with about ½ cup of the flour. Stir the flour and spices into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Add the nuts/raisins. Pour into the prepared pans.
3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Best served the next day!

While the breads were baking we pulled out another old favorite - catalog math. But this time, I gave them each $100 in monopoly money and they had to figure out how to spend it without going over. For BamBam, I let him just make sure it came close to $100 ... with String Bean and Lego Maniac, they had to get right on the money. We then worked on figuring shipping, tax, etc and had a real-living math morning!

Real-life learning, in the heart of the home is so much more fun, don't you think?

1 comment:

Leonie said...

I'm with you - maths is everywhere especially in cooking! I always love your recipe sharing.