Pop quiz. This summer, which question will your kids be more likely answer ‘yes’ to? “Hey kids, do you want to help me bake some brownies?” Or: “Hey kids, do you want to practice your math skills so they don’t get too rusty this summer?”
I’m guessing that a whole lot more kids will jump at the chance to bake brownies over practicing math. But guess what? Now they don’t have to choose, nor will they want to, thanks to author and teacher, Ann McCallum, of Kensington, Maryland.
McCallum and Illustrator Leeza Hernandez have found a clever way to turn math drudgery into deliciousness with their brand new book, Eat Your Math Homework: Recipes for Hungry Minds (see below for how to win a copy of the book.)
McCallum explains, “When I first pondered how we could think beyond the ‘drill and kill’ of boring homework sheets, I was a teacher in a middle-class elementary school in Maryland. I knew from my home life that my own two children loved creating in the kitchen. Was it possible to pair something as nurturing and fun as cooking with school math? I tried a project at school: Mathematical Gingerbread Houses. The experience was so successful that I decided to take it further. I began to develop healthy, food-related math projects to help children develop a fundamental understanding of basic math concepts—while having fun in the process.” The kids ate it up.
Each section of the book, directed toward kids ages 7 to 11, includes an algorithm, or a step-by-step recipe, for making a tasty math project. While making Fibonacci Snack Sticks, kids are introduced to Leonardo Fibonacci, the Italian mathematician who popularized the now-famous Fibonacci sequence. Then, readers can whip up a batch of Fraction Chips to demystify numerators and denominators, or make a Variable Pizza Pi to learn about the circumference and diameter of circles.
For kids who already love math, the projects and “Math Appeteasers” in the book offer a creative outlet to dig deeper. For kids who find math intimidating, the book is a hands- on (and mouth-on) way to make patterns, geometry and probability less mysterious.
McCallum shares her recipe for Tessellating Two-Color Brownies, below. “A tessellation is a pattern of repeating shapes, or polygons, that extend in all directions and that fit together exactly with no gaps or overlays,” according to Eat Your Math Homework. Your kids will have almost as much fun sprinkling the powdered sugar onto the brownies and making patterns out of the brownies as they will eating them.
To be eligible to win a copy of Eat Your Math Homework, please leave a comment below telling us how your kids have used or plan to use math in the kitchen this summer. Leave your comment by Friday, July 8th at 11:59 PM PST, and we will choose a winner using Random.org by Monday, July 11th. US mailing addresses only. One entry per person. Good luck! Contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winnners Martina, Donna and Jen!