Article Summary: "Cooking can be a great way
to explain to children how an algebraic equation works. Teach then the basic
knowledge that cooking and baking requires following a specific formula
which is just like algebra and if the formula is not followed precisely
then you will come up with something different than you originally wanted."
If you want to learn or teach measurements, the best place to do so is in the kitchen. Almost everything that is done in the kitchen is based on measurements. If a child wants to perform the simplest task such as making some Kool-Aid, measuring is involved as they will have to measure one cup of sugar for 2 quarts of Kool-Aid. If a parent were to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies with their child just think of the possibilities there. Measurements in a simple batch of cookies include cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons and just imagine the possibilities if you were to double that recipe.
Learning measurements in the kitchen can begin at a very early age and as the child grows, so can the learning. There really is no better place to teach measurements although teachers do bring these lessons into the classroom somehow they are not as effective as they are in the kitchen with hands on experience. Plus all kids just love to cook in the kitchen. Even preschoolers can help you bake a cake or prepare a simple dinner. Here is when you would want to explain to the child what tools are used to measure wet and dry ingredients. Show them what a cup of liquid looks like and then a cup of flour or sugar. Show them and then test them on which is bigger, a teaspoon or a tablespoon. Let them practice with water until they get it right. Let them play with dry ingredients such as flour but if you aren't so daring then let them play with the measuring devices in the sand where the mess doesn't count.
Weight is another measurement and this can be introduced early at the grocery store by weighing produce or buying deli meats. In the produce sections they have those scales and kids are fascinated by them. Let your child weigh some fruit and explain how many apples are in one pound, etc. This type of activity is preparing them for later work in the kitchen. Understanding all of the concepts involved with measurement can be difficult for a child first starting out. Most kids love the kitchen, which is a great place to begin the adventure of measurement. Once your child knows the difference between a cup and a tablespoon, start teaching them what you know about conversions and equivalents. Give lots of praise and encouragement along the way and when they're enjoying their first meal, remind them that they're the ones who made it and that measurement was the key.
Before you start to teach measurements to your child, discuss the process. Set some reasonable goals together and designate rewards for various levels of progress and understanding. This will create motivation for your child to learn measurements. Since you will be working in the kitchen, rewards can be easy to create. Set a weekly ritual of cooking something delicious together. Your child will learn their measurements and the whole family will get a nice meal in the bargain.
Here are a few of the easy math lessons that can be taught using your time in the kitchen. Once the child is a bit older then you can get to conversions in measuring. Even if you don't know all of the conversions between units of measurements, simply using the tools will help your children become familiar with the amounts that each measurement can hold. Show them the ones you do know: how two half cups equal 1 whole cup; four ¼ cups equal 1 whole cup and so on. You may come across something that even you do not know in which case you should show the child how to be resourceful and find the answer.
Cooking can be a great way to explain to children how an algebraic equation works. Teach then the basic knowledge that cooking and baking requires following a specific formula which is just like algebra and if the formula is not followed precisely then you will come up with something different than you originally wanted.