Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving Menu Fraction Practice

Yesterday was our last day before Thanksgiving Break, and I wanted to do something a little bit holiday themed that was grounded in real-life application and still incorporated the fraction work we've been doing lately. So, I came up with the idea that we were going to cook Thanksgiving side dishes for 50 people (the school staff, local fire departments, etc.).

My students were paired up in groups of four. Each group was given a recipe for mashed potatoes (thanks Pioneer Woman), corn pudding (kids thought this sounded gross), green bean casserole (most of my students had never heard of this - WHAT!!!???!!!), and pumpkin pie. Each person was responsible for one side dish. Note: The traditional Campbell's Green Bean Recipe was hard, as it calls for cups of green beans. Note x2: Everybody thought corn pudding sounded disgusting and wanted nothing to do with that recipe.

Here are the recipes I chose (courtesy Pioneer Woman and

Students each had a copy of the recipe, then they multiplied the ingredients up so that the recipe would serve 48-50 people (mashed potatoes serve 50, everything else 48 people). This helped students practice multiplying fractions as well as converting between mixed numbers and improper fractions. We also did a little conversion here with teaspoons to tablespoons, etc.

Then, students had to write-up their recipe on an index card along with summarized steps. I shared with them that it is common, when sizing up a recipe, that you record the final amounts so you don't have to re-do all the calculations again.
Next, students had to make a grocery list using the template below:

To find prices, we used the website of our local grocery chain, Food City. They have pick-up grocery ordering, so every item is searchable on-site and includes pricing information.

Note x3: Kids really don't know much about grocery shopping. Multiple kids thought pot pie was an acceptable pie shell. When students needed something like 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, they thought they'd need to buy 2 bottles of cinnamon spice. In other words, this was a very practical, helpful exercise for students. However, they desperately need more work with things like this. Making a note for later...

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