Baking 42 Cupcakes

About a month ago, we received some cupcake liners. One morning, the girls took all of the cupcake liners and set them out in a line on the table. After this, they proceeded to add tissue paper inside each liner to act as the “cupcake.” This led to us counting how many “cupcakes” we had, and the magic number was 42.

Their love for cupcakes provided the children with a rich math experience!

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We encouraged them to express their knowledge a little further, so we began practicing writing the word “cupcake” and the number “42” using different materials. This activity really held their interest because then the children lined all of the cupcakes onto a long strip of paper and together they worked on writing down how many “cupcakes” there were, from 1-42. They were able to work as a group and help each other figure out which digit came first, which comes second, and practice their one-to-one correspondence. It was special to see students assisting each other when someone didn’t remember a specific number.

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It took the classroom about a week to complete the list of numbers. Together, we made sure that each student learned the numbers and understood them. One of the things we stress at Little Wonders is to take your time when learning to make sure the children is really understanding what they are doing and what they are learning.

Once the numbering was completed, we practiced subtraction and came up with situational word-problems. For example: “There were 42 cupcakes. Ms. Ambreen ate 2 cupcakes, so how many are left?” Occasionally a child would pretend to eat one of the “cupcakes” so that we would practice counting how many were left and further our study on subtraction.

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Eventually, the students told us that they wanted to look up a cupcake recipe on the computer so they could make 42 cupcakes. What proceeded was a rich and hands-on learning experience.

Parents may ask how baking cupcakes can benefit their children and foster learning and growth. Well, baking is a great way to combine multiple subjects into one project. When we bake or cook, we work on mathematics, science, teamwork, language skills, and reading.

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For this project, the children looked up the correct measuring amounts for each ingredient on the Internet and together we sounded out how to spell the word “cup.” We identified each ingredient, what that ingredient looks, smells, and feels like before we add it to the mixture, how much of each ingredient needs to go into the mixture, and how the mixture changes after we add each ingredient to it (language skills). For example, the eggs made the mixture runny and vanilla extract made the mixture smell different than before even though the texture didn’t change.  We engaged in hands-on experience and learned about teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, and how to measure (math + reading).

The children took turns scooping the mixture and placing it in the cupcake pan. We discussed what the mixture looked like before we placed it in the oven and how heat can alter the ingredients and transform the mixture into cupcakes (science). We discussed other things that change in the heat, like popsicles, chocolate, and crayons.

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In the end, the children worked closely with the teachers to write each number of the cupcake with icing. We discussed primary colors, secondary colors, consistency of icing, and the difference between thick and thin lines. Working on a project where the starting point is multiple separate parts and the final product is one tangible thing they can hold is beneficial for children. It gives the children a sense of complete-ness, accomplishment, and pride to be able to hold the final product and tell others about it.

And for the grand finale………we ate the cupcakes!!!!!

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