We’re in full back-to-school mode here at the Cooper house. That means around 3 pm my kids will come through the front door famished, making it the perfect opportunity for them to work on their math.

Wait, what? Math when they’re hungry? Who can think on an empty stomach? Well, that’s the amazing thing about math—it’s so common in our day-to-day lives that much of it is second nature. Kids do mathematical calculations all the time without realizing it, especially when it comes to food. Take ratios. What kid doesn’t have a strong opinion about the best vegetable to protein ratio? Cheese to sauce? Milk to cocoa?

Merriam-Webster defines ratio as: the relationship that exists between the size, number, or amount of two things and that is often represented by two numbers.

Encourage the kids to put that definition to the test and see just how easy—and tasty—ratios can be.

### Math Trail Mix

I’ve created a list of optional ingredients below but don’t feel limited to it. For example, we have a nut allergy, so we nix the nuts. I also added chocolate chips, which, I know doesn’t make the healthy list in everyone’s book. But while the science may still be out on whether or not it’s actually good for us, our taste buds are big fans.

### You’ll Need

• dry cereal
• dried fruits (cherries, raisins, pineapple, peaches, apricots, etc.)
• pretzels
• nuts
• popcorn
• chocolate chips
• measuring cup

### Directions

1. We want to work with two numbers here to accurately reflect the definition of ratio. In order to do that, ask the kids to group ingredients into two categories. They can go sweet and salty or crunchy and chewy or whatever they’d like.
2. Once they have the categories nailed down, group the items together in two different bowls (one per category).
3. Now, they need to choose a ratio for their trail mix. For example, will they choose a:1:1 ratio, meaning there are equal part crunchy and chewy.
2:3 ratio, meaning for every two scoops of crunchy, there are three of chewy.
4. Really they can choose any ratio they’d like. After they have a ratio, it’s time to make their mix. Measure out the proper scoops, place them in individual containers, and store leftovers for future afternoon snacks.