This past weekend I volunteered at the Minnesota State Fair for Math-on-a-stick. If you ever get a chance to visit the fair, you MUST check out Math-on-a-stick! This post is about a magical cookbook with its own version of math-on-a-stick called Fibonacci snack sticks.
Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry minds was written by Ann McCallum and Illustrated by Leeza Hernandez.
This book contains six math-themed recipes. In my opinion, six is the perfect number of recipes (math pun intended) in a cookbook if you’re looking to feel a sense of accomplishment (as I’ve never tried more than 10% of the recipes in any cookbook I’ve ever owned) . We made 5/6 of the recipes and plan to make the sixth recipe (Milk and Tangram cookies) later this week.
For each recipe, there is an introduction on a particular math topic along with some vocabulary, a list of tools you’ll need, a list of ingredients, and a list of instructions.
The book is recommended for ages 7-10, but there are ways to talk about the concepts with younger children as well. For example, my 5 year old was able to create patterns, measure out ingredients, count and sort with the best of them.
The six recipes in this cookbook involve fractions, tessellations, circles, π, fibonacci numbers, geometric shapes, and probability.
My children counted and sorted when making the Probability Trail mix. They measured and divided when calculating the ratio of the circumference to the diameter in Variable Pizza Pi and they added and counted while making their Fibonacci snack sticks. Finally, equivalent fractions were investigated a bit with Fraction chips.
My children were delighted to put on their aprons and prepare snacks, a meal and desserts from start to finish. The recipes are simple and are things children actually will eat. Here are some pictures of their cooking creations.
Variable Pizza Pi
We used Boboli Pizza crusts (the mini versions and a larger version not pictured) to make Variable Pizza πs. We measured both the circumference and diameters of the two different sized pizza crusts and the pepperoni. As you can see below, dividing circumference by diameter the calculations were quite close to the circle constant, π.
Pepperoni constant: Roughly 3.22
Small pizza constant: 3.065
Large pizza constant: 3.17
After seeing the results, Liam did what most kids do when they realize this constant applies to a few circles. He measured a few more circular objects and got close to π for those ratios as well.
Probability Trail Mix
As we made Probability trail mix (think Chex-like trail mix with m&ms) and read in the book about probability, Liam shared with us that he was learning about estimation in his 2nd grade class. After calculating the probability of “randomly” pulling out of a few pieces in the mix, we discussed how we would be better off if we used foods with roughly the same shape (as Liam admitted he could feel for which food he was selecting from the bag each time.)
My children decided to make fraction chips corresponding to fourths, eighth and sixths. The portions in each are supposed to be equal of course, but since my 7 and 5 year old cut them, I thought they got pretty close.
Tessellating Two-Color Brownies
We had high hopes for this recipe, however it sort of felt a bit like one of those Pinterest fails in the end. The picture on the left shows what were probably the only 4 triangles that were solid enough to stay together. The pic on the right was what happened with most of the brownies when the kids tried tessellating with them.
Two-color tessellating brownies are an excellent idea in theory. However, it may be just us, but we leave the book in search of a brownie recipe worthy of our tessellation play purposes. [If you find a brownie recipe that works well, please send it through the Contact link, we’d love to try it out]
Fibonacci Snack Sticks
As I mentioned above, while I was away at Math-on-a-stick my husband was in charge of overseeing the pattern-making involved in making Fibonacci snack sticks. Looks to me like their snack stick recipe was a success.
After following each recipe, my kids beamed with pride at their final products. Ann McCallum’s math cookbook is the perfect recipe for kid-friendly food, fun and Fibonacci for all. Happy math baking!
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Thanks and see you next Monday! #mathbookmagic