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Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe: Teaching Low Functioning Middle School Math Students Multiplication
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
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
3 cups chocolate chips
Bonus: How many cookies does the new recipe make or yield?
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
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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.
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.
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© 2012 Janine Huldie