# Cupcakes of Good Measure: Another look into Counting, Division, and Fractions.

The kids are getting older to the point of doing more things to help out in the kitchen.  This has given them a sense of empowerment and joy in cooking and baking.  For this baking experience, one needed to distribute 24 baking cups into the cupcake baking tins. This task was for my little one to do, to give her a chance to practice on her counting.  The other child was given the responsibility of measuring the ingredients and placing them in the bowl.  Then there was mixing and distributing the mixture into the cupcake holders, my other child. 🙂

When it was time to distribute the mixture into the cupcake holders, we needed to talk about how much to fill the holder.  If it was filled to the top, the cupcake would overflow when baking.  If filled to little, then it might over baker, or burn.  So we decided to fill it up about halfway.  That worked. 🙂 We also filled some a third of the way and that worked as well, but we needed to keep an eye on them to prevent over baking.

After putting everything into the oven, waiting for them to bake, and letting them cool, it was time to decorate.  Each child was able to decorate given the icing, sprinkles, and their own different piping tips with icing bags to use too! Before they were able to begin decorating, they needed to figure out how many cupcakes each would have equally if there are 24 to distribute.  To help my little one figure it out, the two older ones distributed one cupcake at a time to each other until there were no more to distribute.  So the result was that each have 8 cupcakes to decorate any way they wanted.  We did this outside to make clean up easier.  🙂 It was a good day!

Giving each child a task to do for a single project, like baking, gives them an opportunity to contribute.  The task does not need to be daunting, or feel like they are in a lecture about Mathematics.  When you cook, bake, or do a project together, point out the math they are doing and ask them if they were having fun doing it!  For a bit of advice, do no more than pointing out three to four things they are doing in math.  For kids, they want to experience things too. 🙂

In baking, I point out the importance of following the directions because it is an exact science.  Baking, in my opinion, does not have many allowances to veer off the path because you are working in an area of chemistry.  There are substitutions, but you need to research those substitutions, or you may get goop or a something as hard as a rock for your result.

The ingredients, whether dry, or wet, need to be added a certain way in order to react properly.  Over mixing can cause too much air to be added to the batter and may not come out right in the oven.  There is a difference between baking powder and baking soda, but both are chemical agents to help the batter to rise.

There also is working with expansion when heat, from the oven, is applied to the mixture.  That is why it is so important to talk to the children about how much mixture should be put into the cupcake holder.  Describe how much batter should be added by using what fraction of the cupcake holder should be filled.

Baking might be looked at such a trivial task to do and not so complicated, but it is really a great math and science project talking about how each ingredient plays an important part.  As always, enjoy what you are doing so that the children enjoy also.  The more experiences we are given in working with mathematics, the less intimidating it will become in the future.  My goal is to create a space where mathematics is not for the chosen few to understand, but to make it accessible for all to be successful in because it is that important and beautiful!  :). Enjoy!

# When Temperatures Rise, It is Time to Make Sugar Water for the Hummingbirds: Measuring with the Help of Little Hands!

This is not a new concept, but it is new for my child and that is what counts!  We love seeing our Hummingbird friends and they do remind us that the sugar-water is getting low.  For this activity, it takes just a smidge of time with your child and it is just right for the little hands to measure.

Materials:

1. A pot to hold at least 4 cups of water
2. Distilled, or Spring Water
3. 1 cup of raw sugar
4. A measuring cup, be it a 1/2 cup, whole cup, or 1/3 cup
5. Humming bird feeder

With those little hands, count out 1 cup of sugar and pour into the pot. If you are using a 1 cup measuring cup, then counting is easy.  If you are using a 1/2 cup, then you are counting to two.  If you are using a 1/3 cup, then you are counting to 3.  This would be a great time to show your child how two half cups of sugar equal into 1 cup and how three 1/3 cups of sugar equal 1 cup too!

Now count out 4 cups of water and pour it into the pot as well.  If you are using a 1 cup measuring cup, then count to 4.  Using a 1/2 cup will have you counting to 8 and using a 1/3 cup will have them counting to 12.  Then get a spoon to stir it up before putting this on the stove.

This is also a great time to tell your kids about the rules of the house with a stove.  To make sure my little one can still pour and scoop, the pot is first placed on the table and then transferred over to the stove.  Turn on the stove and let the mixture boil.  Once it is boiling, turn it off right away and let cool.

For us, we make this in the mid-morning and it cools off completely after lunch to be able to pour into the humming-bird feeder.

Now you can enjoy the Hummingbird friends coming over to your yard and take notice of the sounds they make when they call each other, fight over the feeder, or the different colors and sizes of the Hummingbirds.

Purchasing sugar-water at the store can be expensive over time and it also contains a lot of additives that the Hummingbirds should not consume in the first place.  This activity is much about being responsible to our animal visitors, as well as a mathematics lesson.  Planting flowering plants in your yard, that do not contain any pesticides, are also a wonderful addition to your yard.  There is plenty of measuring in that activity too!

Do not be surprised if you see a Woodpecker enjoying the sugar-water as well.  It is really fascinating to see them hang on to it to drink the water 🙂  If you also encounter a lot of Bees drinking the Sugar Water, do not be surprised either.  If this is a problem for you, then wait until the sun sets, or gets dark to remove the feeder, as Bees always go back to the hive at night.

The most important thought to keep with you, after reading this, is that you had a great time with your child that included mathematics and nature!  Enjoy!

# Do You want a Half of a Banana, or a Whole Banana? Starting Fractions Early

When it is time for a snack or dessert, a banana is so nice and sweet for the little ones.  At first, when I have asked each of my kids whether they want a half of a banana, or a whole banana, they look at me like I am crazy.  So I take out a banana and show them a whole banana, then I take that banana and show them half.  Usually, they will say that they want a whole banana and then go eat because of course they want a whole banana.  It was not to test them on the idea of whole, or half.  It was giving them the vocabulary to use to describe how much of something they wanted.

Why would anyone want half a banana?

With my two boys being so little and close in age, sometimes there would be only one banana left.  If both were to get a banana, we would need to cut this in half.  This is the moment to now see half as equal parts because for kids, each person should get the same as the other, right?

Taking the knife to cut the banana, I placed the knife at different parts of the banana, asking them each time if this was cutting the banana in half.  “Would the both of you get the same amount if I cut it here?” “Would he get more or less of the banana, if I cut it here?” “Where would I cut the banana so that both of you get the same amount?”

After cutting the banana in half, I put the two pieces, one over the other, to have the boys see if both pieces were equal.

So, there it is.  It took me longer to type this out, than it did to show my kids in real time about half and whole.

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?

Click to access ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

1. Tuesday-Numbers

2. Wednesday-Big and Small

3. Thursday- More and Less

Start asking your little one about whole and half. This does not need to happen each and every time someone asks for a banana because then it starts to sound scripted. Once in a while, bring it up as this lesson should only take no more than five minutes.

Teaching math to the little ones should be a part of life so that they can see early on how math relates to their world. The more we do this, the less foreign it will be when they begin school. Math is a part of life, just as it is with sharing a banana.

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

# Fruity Fractions are Healthy and Delicious!

Why not learn fractions with watermelon as well!  Watermelon is a great snack for kids and an opportunity for learning about fractions. With the last fraction activity using oranges, the whole was the whole orange.  In this case, I use a circular slice of the watermelon as a whole.  Why?  All of us need to see the whole in different ways and its parts.

At this time, my oldest was 5, second oldest was about to turn 4, and my youngest was too young to notice what we were doing, nor could eat watermelon.  Taking a slice of watermelon, I told them that this slice is the whole.  Cutting in half, I then said that this is now cut in half.  “What do you notice about the two pieces that came from the whole slice of watermelon?” “Are they the same, or different?” If cut this slice of watermelon into two pieces and give it to the both of you, would you want them to be the same or different?” “Why?”

Those are the questions, I asked and still ask when the moment presents itself.  When asking the kids questions, ask both questions that will result in a yes or no, and ask them questions that they need to explain more.  The most important thing to remember is just to ask your child questions to find out what they are thinking.

Now cut the two equal parts in half again.  How many slices of watermelon was the whole cut into?  What are they called now? Are they called halves, or something else?  Answer:  they are called fourths.  Cut each of those fourths in half and what do you get?  Answer: they are called eighths.  Why are they called eighths?  Are each of these eighths the same/equal to the other eighths?  If we put all of these eight eighths together, what do they make?  These are just a sample of questions to ask your kids.  Just be mindful of how many questions you ask before the kids’ attention span is gone.  🙂

Now eat and enjoy so they can taste the delicious mathematics they just learned!  🙂

Here are more pictures for you to use.  Print them out and use them for later to help your kids learn their fractions again.  The kids can also use the pictures to help them cut the fruit in equal pieces.

Whole- One Whole

Half- Two Halves

Fourths- Four Fourths

Eighths- Eight Eighths

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

1. Tuesday-Numbers

2. Wednesday-Big and Small

3. Thursday- More and Less

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 3-5?

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf

1. Friday- Numbers, Part/Whole, Half, Thirds

It is also good to remember that the whole does not always need to be a circle either.  Try a piece of bread and cut that into half. Talk about that and ask the kids questions about whether they think it is important for the two pieces to be the same or not.  Then cut that into fourths and eighths. What about bananas?  Talk about the whole fruit of the banana as the whole and how would they cut the whole in half?  How about fourths? How about thirds? How about fifths? What would that look like?  Fractions are our friends.  Fruity fractions are even better!

Remember, learning is not a race.  If you think it is a race, it is better to think of different ways to finish and that it is more important to get there than who gets there first.  With mathematics, it was always meant to be learned and by all.  So think of other ways you can be in the house or outside and teach your kids about fractions and the vocabulary.  You are, in fact, your child’s first teacher.

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

# Making Orange Juice Out of Fractions

In our family, we have the pleasure of receiving oranges from relatives and this makes it so much fun to show the kids how to make orange juice and learn some fractions! If you do not have oranges handy, you can always use any type of fruit because showing the kids about frations with many different types of shapes and objects can get them away from fractions as having always to do with circles.

Start by showing what is the “whole”.  With oranges, the whole orange is the “whole”. Cut this in half, into two equal parts.  Show this your child and say that each piece is a part of the whole orange and ask them whether the two parts are the same or different.  Ask your child to put the two parts together to make the whole and tell them that each part has a special name, a half.

Then cut each half into two more equal parts, fourths.  Ask your child the same question about what they notice, or see with the new parts of the whole.  Are they equal to each other?  Are they halves anymore?  How many parts are there now to the whole?  Four? Those are called fourths because there are four parts to the whole.  If you want to go further and you still have your child’s attention, cut each fourth in half.   Ask the same questions as before, but now they are eighths because there are eight equal parts to the whole orange.

Now have your orange snack and enjoy making orange juice!

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?

Click to access ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

1. Tuesday-Numbers

2. Wednesday-Big and Small

3. Thursday- More and Less

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 3-5?

Click to access CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf

1. Friday- Numbers, Part/Whole, Half, Thirds