The weather is finally getting cooler and we can begin using the oven for baking! Baking is a great time to learn about mathematics! The best part of it is making arrays with the cookies. An array is an arrangement of objects, pictures, or numbers in columns and rows. An array is especially easy to make when we place the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet. The reason for me even doing this is because I am working with my oldest son on how to think about multiplication in several different ways. One way to think about multiplication is by making arrays of columns by rows to find the total product. The most important part of multiplication, for me, is also learning how to apply the multiplication to everyday things in his life.
Before baking the cookies, the instructions on the box/recipe will tell you how many cookies the mixture will make. Ask the question out loud about how many dollops of cookie dough can fit onto one oven sheet. For this particular batch, we were able to make 30 cookies.
After the cookies are baked, the next question I ask my oldest is how many rows do we have on the cookie and how many columns. For this particular one, we have six columns and five rows. How many cookies do we can by multiplying 6 and 5? To get this answer he can count out the total cookies that are on the cookie sheet, or have a chance to figure it out in a different way.
Here comes another situation with having more than one child in the family, how to distribute/divide the cookies equally? We have three kids in our household who have three different tastes. One would like to have strawberry jam as a filling. The second child does not like anything on the cookie. The third child likes apple butter as a filling. The conversation is now about division and distribution. The kids then need to decide how many cookies each of them will have and if it needs to be the same number of cookies. They need to figure out how to divide thirty cookies by three kids equally. So they did! The results are the pictures below. 🙂
Something To Think About:
With your child, you may want to do fewer columns and rows. You can point out small arrays within the bigger array of cookies. For example, you can make ask how many cookies are in a 2 by 3 array. How about a 3 by 3 array? Look at the shapes of these arrays too! When you make a 2 by 3 array, is this a rectangle, or a square? When you make a 3 by 3 array, is this a rectangle, or a square? The answer is that a 3 by 3 array will make a square and visually will make the square number of 9! Check out a 4 by 4 array on the cookie sheet, is this also a square? So is 16 a square number, which is 4 multiplied by 4? How cool is that!
In any case, make this a fun and tasty mathematical exploration. Always remember that this is not only a time to learn about math, but a time to get together and make something of love! Enjoy!