Can Math’s be taught in an interesting way in Kitchen?

Harshit Bansal

Director, Abhinav Group of Schools, Pitampura, New Delhi

Ofcourse Yes.

Math’s is literally everywhere around us, be it in any form or the other.

Teaching math to a kid is a tedious task for any mathematics teacher. This is so, because, in a subject like math’s there is very less scope of imaginating the concept being taught result in the child not able to understand the concept being taught to him. To achieve so, starting from the concepts of junior classes or to teach mathematical concepts of Middle Classes, Kitchen Math’s is the one of the most ideal ways to perform so.

In a setup like Kitchen, the best thing that happens to a child is all concepts are right in front of him. All the educator has to do is develop a connect between the physical things present in front and the concept he plans to deliver.

Concepts like fractions and decimals, ratio and proportions, quantities and estimation, conversions, symmetry etc. can be taught very efficiently via Hands on Learning experiences of that happen in the process of cooking.

Before you start cooking, you need ingredients and raw material for cooking, basically meaning shopping. Shopping at a supermarket gives the child a firsthand experience into understanding the following concepts:

  • Quantities:While fruits and vegetables are usually bought in Kilograms, the spices are often bought in grams. This allows the child to visually see, how much grams of chili pepper will constitute a kilogram of chili pepper. Practical application to teach Quantities helps him understand the different conversions and estimate volume as to how much big container will be required to fit in a kg of chili powder or how much smaller size required to fit 100 gms of chili powder.
  • Unitary Method:A particular recipe for 2 people requires this much amount of raw material and spices, how much material will be required for 6 people? Ask your student, if he doesn’t answer you in a classroom, he definitely will while at a super market.
  • Discounts and Calculations: While one shops at a supermarket, the trip ends at the billing counter where the child is able to understand how much money to give for the weight of material purchased and how much balance the teller is going to return. Also, while calculating discounts (if applicable) the child can again understand the concept of percentage and subtraction.

When you are done shopping, we head back to our kitchen where again a lot of mathematical concepts are laid out in the open. In any kitchen, the child is able to visualize against himself the following:

  • Shapes and Sizes: The pan is a circle, container box is cylinder, and serving tray is rectangle. Some containers are bigger than other. Some are elliptical at the bottom and become pointed as we go up. From basic shapes, to complex shapes, we got it all in a kitchen.
  • Ratio and Proportions: A good cup of tea requires half a cup of water and half a cup of milk. How much water and milk required for 7 cups of tea. Congratulations, you just taught your child the concept of ratios and proportions. So easy, right? And you were trying so hard in the classroom.
  • Fractions and Decimals: 1 tbsp, ½ tbsp, ¼ tbsp, 1/8 tbsp. 1 tbsp, 0.5 tbsp, 0.25 tbsp, 0.125 tbsp. You just cracked a jackpot deal of teaching decimals with fractions. And you thought teaching maths was hard.
  • Time: Heat a cup of tea, 10 seconds. Bake a cake 10 mins. Prepare a lavish recipe, 1 hour. Concept of time, done.

Once you are done preparing dishes with your students, there is still a concept you can teach them while setting up the eating table which is SYMMETRY.

Setting up table is an Art. There are fancy restaurants that set up the table to upto 1/10th of an inch. So setting up table can be an activity where in symmetry can be taught to children efficiently.

Teaching mathematics in kitchen to children is a fun activity for the children as well as the educator. The clarity students get while they are having hands on learning in a kitchen helps them remember the concept for lifetime. And this is all basic maths, complex concepts like integration and differentiation need this basic skill set only to have a good command on mathematics. So next time, you are planning a lesson plan for your mathematics class, do plan a visit to the kitchen.

A fun idea for assessment is, tastier the recipe, better the grading, because if the child’s concept ratios and proportions are good, he read the time right, the bought the required material in a required and right quantity, not only his Math Skills are great, the recipe will be tasty too.

Happy Teaching , Happy Eating.

Harshit Bansal

Director, Abhinav Group of Schools, Pitampura, New Delhi