The Value of Cooking

Cooking offers many opportunities for literacy, math, interdependence, as well as fun.  So when Jaylin began to research cooking on the Food Network online, we saw an excellent opportunity to use her excitement about cooking toward her academic development.

Excited about the chance to organize the class meal, Jaylin took to the internet.  She weighed her options and considered all sorts of desserts and many fancy entrees, but she settled on a pizza, a vegetarian pizza.  She began to write the recipe down for herself and then printed a copy after learning how to print.  Evidence suggests that children who learn the concept of computers have profound effects on the enhancement of their educational experience.  With the world moving in the direction where technology is king, using the computer is more than just a fun experience but a useful skill needed to succeed.

After our parents donated the supplies needed to create the pizza, Nohea read the list of ingredients while the others checked to see if we had everything we need.  There was such pride as the children announced what their families had contributed.

The students began with adding the flour.  Each student decided that they would take turns pour their ingredient in the measuring cup by themselves, however, the flour was everywhere.  Tirza offered to help hold the measuring cup so that the other students could place both hands on the bag.  Tirza’s offer sparked the beginning of interdependence and the children understanding that they must work together to successfully cook this meal and that everyone is important.

The teacher discussed how yeast reacts with sugar causing it to produce gas.   The class discussed how when the yeast feels with gas it causes the dough to expand.  The students were excited at the potential of their dough growing.  They wanted to know if they would be able to see the change and how large would the dough become.

We began discussing that yeast is actually something that is alive, and uses either honey or sugar as a food.  When the yeast “eats” this sugar, gas is produced, which in turn makes our dough rise.

We spent a good amount of time talking about the yeast, that we are now researching ways to experiment with it.

The recipe then called for two tablespoons of honey, but we were using a 1/2 tablespoon measuring utensil.  Alex and Isela quickly added that we would need two scoops to make a whole tablespoon.  However, the teacher reminded them that they were doubling the recipe and asked, “The recipe says we will need four tablespoons; how many scoops will we need?”  Nohea say that  we would need two 1/2 tablespoons for each tablespoon needed.

We gave them a dry erased board so that they could figure out how many 1/2 tablespoons they would need.  Based on Nohea’s suggestion, they put 1/2 + 1/2 four times.  They then counted the number of time 1/2 appeared and discovered that they would need eight 1/2 tablespoons.

After Ms. Maryam showed everyone how to use the food processor, the students watched with excitement as the dough began to rise.  They periodically checked on its process and report the results to their friends.  “Wow!” Evelynn shouted as she urged her friends to see how the dough was lifting the towel placed over the bowl.

Now was the fun part!  Rolling out the dough……..

They were so pleased at what they were able to do together and it showed…

This was such a great lesson, not only was it tasty, but it provided so many other opportunities for learning.  The students used the internet, printed items, measured, used collaborative learning, added fractions, worked on literacy, learned about nutrition, how food is made, and where it comes from.  We are now using this as the beginning of a science experiment to better understand yeast.

We could discuss further the details of everything the children learned in this project, but for us what was most important was that they enjoyed every moment of it. The majority of the subjects learned in this project were initiated by the children.  We followed their lead and provided them with the proper materials to help answer their questions and encourage them to problem solve.  Allowing them to take time to solve problems like how many tablespoons they needed, was an experience that really applied the math that they are studying right now.  It helps bring life and purpose to what they learn in school.


Not only is our goal to provide our children with quality education, but we strive to allow our children opportunities to apply what they are learning.  We want our children to enjoy learning, as well as be able to experience it in life.


This activity focused on the following learning goals:

1) Mathematical process standards. The student uses mathematical processes to acquire and demonstrate mathematical understanding. The student is expected to:

(A) apply mathematics to problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace;

(B) use a problem-solving model that incorporates analyzing given information, formulating a plan or strategy, determining a solution, justifying the solution, and evaluating the problem-solving process and the reasonableness of the solution;

(C) select tools, including real objects, manipulatives, paper and pencil, and technology as appropriate, and techniques, including mental math, estimation, and number sense as appropriate, to solve problems;

(3) Research and information fluency. The student acquires and evaluates digital content. The student is expected to:

(A) use search strategies to access information to guide inquiry;

(B) use research skills to build a knowledge base regarding a topic, task, or assignment;

(6) Technology operations and concepts. The student demonstrates knowledge and appropriate use of technology systems, concepts, and operations. The student is expected to:

(C) perform basic software application functions, including opening an application and creating, modifying, printing, and saving files;

E) use proper keyboarding techniques such as ergonomically correct hand and body positions appropriate for Kindergarten-Grade 2 learning;

(F) demonstrate keyboarding techniques for operating the alphabetic, numeric, punctuation, and symbol keys appropriate for Kindergarten-Grade 2 learning;

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