banana into thirds, each part will be larger than if you cut that same banana into sixths. This year when we baked cakes for the school carnival, the children were able to explain why 1⁄10 of the 9 × 13 cake was larger than 1⁄20 of a cake of the same size. Few recipes feed twenty or more children so we often have
to double or even triple them. We relate the terms double and twice as many to fractions. We watch the dough for our Hot Cross Buns double in size. It was half as big just a short time ago. When we make “dirt” (chocolate pudding complete with gummy worms), the recipe calls for ½ cup of milk for each serving. We start at the representational level. I draw cups on the board and we color them in ½ cup at a time. Last spring when we were making flower-shaped gingerbread
cookies to take to an elder care facility, I brought only a quarter- cup measuring cup for our Friday cooking. The children had to figure out how to use it to follow our recipe.
Teaching to the Test
A few years back when my students took a standardized math test, their scores on the fraction section were especially impres- sive. Almost no one missed the problems that tested their understanding of fractional parts of a whole. However, several children missed the two questions that tested their understand- ing of fractional parts of a group. Now we make mints for our volunteer tea, and discuss what fraction of the mints are pink, green, or yellow. When we make dipping sauce, we decide what fraction of our vegetables are carrots, cucumbers or celery. Our Friday cooking has made learning about fractions fun, and the carryover has been
exciting. Now my students want to describe everything in terms of fractions. They con- verted their weather calendars into fractions. (It snowed 5⁄31 of the days in April.) They write the lunch count in fractional terms, and of course they hope that a couple of kids will be absent on the day we celebrate someone’s birthday, because they know that 1⁄22 is larger than 1⁄24. !
Ellen Javernick is a second-grade teacher in Loveland, Colorado, who likes cooking as much as her students do. In addition to teaching, Ellen is the author of a spelling program for teachers and numer- ous children’s books. Her two most recent are The Birthday Pet and What If Everybody Did That?, both published by Marshall Cavendish.
Ingredients (for each student) 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla 1/2 cup rock salt
ice cubes, enough to fill each gallon-sized bag about half full (good for estimating half)
1 pint-sized plastic bag with a zip closure 1 gallon-size plastic bag with a zip closure
©synergy learning • 800-769-6199 • May/June 2011
ICE CREAM IN A BAG Instructions
1 cup half & half . . . you can use milk, but it’s fun to talk about why it’s called half & half
1. Combine the sugar, half & half, and vanilla extract in the small bag. Seal it tightly.
2. Place the salt and ice in the large bag. Then place the sealed smaller bag inside as well. Seal the larger bag. Shake the bags until the mixture turns to ice cream. (about 5 minutes).
3. Take the smaller bag out of the larger one. You can eat the ice cream right out of bag or pour it into a dish.
Connect • Page 3
It was fun when you only brought the 1/4-cup mea- suring cup and we had to figure out how to do all our measuring with it. —Nick
Sometimes you really have to think about how you’d cut something so the parts would be equal. —Kelsey