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Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe: Teaching Low Functioning Middle School Math Students Multiplication

Updated on September 4, 2012
Janine Huldie profile image

Janine is a published author in Only Trollops Shave Above the Knees, appears on The Huffington Post and at Confessions of A Mommyaholic.

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Many on Hubpages, who know and follow me know that I taught middle and high school math before having my two young daughters. I taught a variety of different classes and also types of students. One year, I taught a wonderful small group of young kids, who just so happened to be severely learning disabled. Most youngsters by the time they reach middle school can indeed multiply and should know their multiplication tables through 100, but these poor kids unfortunately had trouble with even the basic math skills, multiplication tables included. I had to design activities to help these children try to learn and retain the basics of math while still trying to make it fun and hands-on.

So I started to think how I could indeed do just that and remember how I love to bake and how if you are given a recipe and need to make more that the given amount that you must multiply the ingredients to the new desired amount.

So I went home and of course went through my recipe book and came up with this simple recipe (what young kid doesn't like cookies, especially chocolate chip). And of course made the cookies so that when we were done with the actual activity we would still enjoy some chocolate chip cookies too!!

That is where this chocolate chip recipe came into play. It was only one simple activity, but it really seemed to help drive the topic of multiplication home and still make it enjoyable for these children to learn this much needed concept. I also incorporated other recipes with the kids too, but will share this one specifically with the reader in this article

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The Actual Activity:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mrs. Huldie's recipe makes only 24 cookies. She must make 3 times the amount to make enough cookies for everyone in her family. How much of each ingredient does she need for the new recipe, if the original recipe is as follows?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe:

2 cups of flour

1 cup of sugar

2 tsp. of baking soda

1 tsp. of vanilla

4 eggs

3 cups chocolate chips

Bonus: How many cookies does the new recipe make or yield?

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The New Chocolate Chip Recipe

1. This Recipe needs to make three times the amount. So if the original makes 24, how do we find 3 times that? (This is the bonus, but I try to direct the students to look at this first so to understand the rest of the problem.)

Answer: 24 x 3 = 72 cookies

2. We need to make a new recipe that makes the 72 cookies now. How can we do this? So if we multiplied by 3 before, we must do that with each of the ingredients to find the new amount of each ingredient for this updated and modified recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe:

a. 2 cups of flour x 3 = 6 cups of flour

b. 1 cup of sugar x 3 = 3 cups of sugar

c. 2 tsp. of baking soda x 3 = 6tsps. of baking soda

d. 1 tsp. of vanilla x 3 = 3 tsps. of vanilla

e. 4 eggs x 3 = 12 eggs

f. 3 cups chocolate chips x 3 = 9 cups of chocolate chips

Summing It Up...

This activity may seem to most very elementary and basic, but remember as stated earlier these young pre-teens really could barely add, let alone multiply. So I really had to come up each day with new activities to try to help engage them to gain a bit more confidence with math and also use everyday real world examples too, so that I could prove to them how math could come up in their daily lives.

These children were cast aside a long time ago in the educational system and seeing a 13 year old boy who couldn't even multiply 2 times 2 was not only sad, but a real travesty. Yes they had a severe handicap in the learning department, but now it was being left to me to try to help them. Seriously Rome wasn't built in a day and I pretty much threw out all the normal expectations here. I just for the most part flew by the seat of my pants everyday with these kids so to speak, but in the end I do think I made an impact and my goal as told by the principal that year was to help them so that they could indeed go to high school the following year.

Again their high school math class would continue to instill the basics that I laid out for them, because they were never going to be mainstreamed into the regular math classes, but did want them to be able to use everyday math to function someday in the real world. So that was my challenge if I excepted it and I did just that with this activity and others during that year too.

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About the Author...

Janine is a freelance writer and mom of two. She is known for being a certified and licensed professional Math Teacher through NY State and has taught in both the middle and high school levels. You can checkout her profile and more real-life Math articles here.

Are you interested in writing for Hubpages? You can sign up today and publish your first article!

© 2012 Janine Huldie

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Okay, first of all, this is my favorite food group. I was working on a hub and I saw the words "chocolate chip" pop up and I stopped what I was doing to read.

      Secondly, to use this as a math lesson is pure genius! Bravo to you my young, talented friend.

      You really do need to be back in a classroom as soon as possible; the kids of this country need teachers like you. Meanwhile, feel free to send me some cookies as I am now drooling. :)

      Great job my friend.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      I learnt about maths and multiplication and also learned that I can eat lovely cookies whilst I do it - a perfect Maths lesson in my book :o) Maths never was my strong subject....but I could be persuaded!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, first off thank you for saying that about me and teaching. Believe me when I tell you with school starting back up today I felt a bit down about not returning once again this year. Don;'t get me wrong I love being home with my girls, but I do miss teaching and the challenges that come with it. I know if anyone can understand that it would be you my friend. Also, I love baking and tasty foods so I often loved combining the two, just seemed to be second nature to me. Seriously thank you for the support as always :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Julie, thanks for putting a smile on my face reading your comment and you really aren't alone in math not being a strong subject, my own husband struggled as a kid, so I a lot of times I bounced my activities off him to see if they were indeed interesting and engaging to someone who struggled and quite frankly hated math. Thank you though for your comment, it is so very appreciated!!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Janine, as a kid I was a Maths flop but I went back to school and did my Level 2 (equivalent to High School Certificate/Diploma?) and finally passed it at the first time of asking at the rip ol' age of 46 :o), I was never prouder!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Julie, you should indeed be proud of yourself and that is such a very good accomplishment. I do try to understand what it must be like to have trouble with math, since I never really did, but will tell you I took a graduate class in math that was purely coding and there I did struggle a bit so that is when I finally got what it must feel like. Thank you again :)

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Janine - I love the methods you come up with to educate. However, I may have to stop reading these hubs. It seems every time I peruse, I gain 5 lbs. Now, this may not bother you, but even my sweats are starting to sweat. lol Seriously, you're amazing in how you get the point across. Your husband has absolutely no chance of winning any disagreement, for sure! Great Job!

    • zsobig profile image

      Sophie 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love your Math-series, both this became my favourite I think!

      It is lovely and stunning how many good ideas just pop into your mind and how great enthusiasm you have with these learning disabled kids.

      Voted up and shared - as usual :)

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I'm not a fan of math but I do like chocolate chip cookies. I would have been one of your students who focused more on being the cookie monster then the subject at hand :)

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Richard, now you actually sound like my husband, who has been known on occasion to tell me that he indeed can never quite win an argument with me, lol! Seriously, thank you for your entertaining comment. I always look forward to reading what you have to say in regards to my articles, usually pretty darn funny and refreshing too. Sorry for the weight gain too lol :)

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Zsobig, I am glad that you are enjoying my math series and really do love sharing these articles. Believe me I have more and just happy to know that they are well received here. Thank you also for the votes and share too!!

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Linda, no worries as I have said my husband also is not a fan of math and also does love chocolate chip cookies, so too he would say the same as you here. Thank you seriously for your comment and support as always too :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      As always you not only capture a way of inculcating maths understanding in the low functioning - you do it with such creativity and passion. You have an innate ability to teach mixed ability groups and are very very learner centred. Awesome! voted up/tweeted.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Docmo, thank you so much for saying such lovely things about my teaching style. I really did try to put myself in these kids shoes, which wasn't easy, because I truly always enjoyed math and really did so well in that class. But I always seemed to bounce these ideas off my husband who seemed to have a harder time in math class growing up. Thank you seriously for the votes and tweet too!,

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Janine, this is delicious and ingenious. It also motivates kids because it gives them the cookines to look forward to after the lesson! Where were you when I was learning maths? I really would've done so much better! Ok, I"m sharing and pinning this lesson!

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Michelle, thank you seriously for your continued kindness and support too. I truly was glad to be able to just teach and try to reach as many kids as I could. I only hope to be able to do this once again in the future. Thank you again for sharing and pinning too :)

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is really useful for teachers and parents trying to teach students about math. Math does not come naturally for many people, but when kids are able to visualize the process with something they really like, I can imagine they would be more successful. Thanks for sharing this great idea!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Jeannie, very much agree with your comment about kids learning better when the activity is hands on and something they can visualize and is tangible to them Thank you so very much for your kind words here :)

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      Excellent work. Mixing math with cooking, cookies, and chocolate is brilliant! :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Julie, I love all three of those things and so do most middle school kids, so I figured when in Rome, lol!! Seriously thank you so much for the compliment and support too :)

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      I agree with Julie. Teaching math with some rewarding thoughts as food can activate any mind! Your class will never get bored. Great and easy to understand Janine!

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Janine, must tell you that you have a way with Math problem solving!!

      WOW! Not only was this hub as cute as those middle school kids and as yummy as those chocolate cookies but your caterpillar divider is simply the cutest!

      Do I have your permission to copy it?

      Loved your hub. Cheers, Rema.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Joseph, thank you for saying that this was indeed easy to understand and follow. I truly tried to do that whenever possible with my students. Thank you again for comment and support too :)

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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Rema, if you need to use my caterpillar divider, it is yours, but please just do credit me if possible. Thank you seriously for your kind words on my hub article and my teaching style too. It is so appreciated!!!

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Certainly Janine. With your name of course. If I get to use it online that is...Thanks very much.

      Cheers, Rema.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Oh Rema, thank you so much and what can I say but very much appreciate your support and friendship too :)

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      KDuBarry03 4 years ago

      You always find fun and new ways to teach kids basic skills. Excellent job and definitely sharing this! Oh, and thanks for getting me in the mood for more sweets :D

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Keith, thank you for your kind words on my article here and by the way you are quite welcome about getting you in the mood for more sweets, because I am a mom at heart and constantly baking and cooking up something for my kids lol! Seriously, thank you so much Keith!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Pure genius! Math teachers of the world will absolutely LOVE this lesson...your creativity is boundless. What a great way to teach math.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Oh thank you Mary for saying such lovely words about this lesson that I shared here. I also appreciate and thank you for your votes too!!!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      This is an awesome hub. These days I mostly sub for students with special needs and I really enjoy it. Unfortunately a lot of their learning tools are old and outdated. This would be great.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Glimmer Twin Fan, I also subbed at one point and I was sometimes put with these kids too and can tell you that is what made me want to go out of my way to make sure my lessons were indeed more hands-on and definitely more reality based. I do believe you can totally relate being a substitute teacher and thank you so much for sharing your teaching experiences here.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      What a super idea to use food to help kids learn the importance of math and how to use it. These real life examples will help them in their own kitchen. Voted up.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Millionaire Tips, thank you for this comment too and do agree that my hope was to be able to help these kids in their own life someday in the future too, plus I thank you for the votes too!!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Another gem to save into my recipe book. I have too tell you my dear friend that your articles and all you do are brilliant and your obvious hard work so positively pays off. Have awonderful day.

      Eddy.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks you so very much Eddy and can't say that enough. I tried so hard to work hard to help these students and for that I will never feel bad. Just wish I could have done even more. Thanks again and you too have a wonderful day!!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love your idea for teaching math to children who need extra help! The cookie example would interest many students because it applies to their lives. It's so important that kids with learning disabilities are helped. Thank you for sharing your teaching strategies.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      My pleasure AliciaC and thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, too!!

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