There are so many ways you can naturally target academics during cooking groups. Cooking group activities are ideal for targeting life skills, language concepts, fine motor skills, sequencing, and more. They’re also a fun and engaging way to target academic skills and standards in a functional way.
Use these tips to easily target core academic skills and standards in your classroom cooking groups.
Integrating math skills into cooking groups
- Counting practice
- Count how many students are in the group and need a plate or utensil
- Practice counting as students add ingredients into the bowl (3 cups of flour, 5 teaspoons of sugar, 3 eggs, etc.)
- Have students count in different ways when mixing or shaking. For example, we have to shake the jar for a long time when we make butter. To add in some extra counting practice, we have students count in different ways (by ones, fives, tens, skip counting, etc.) while their taking their turn to shake the butter.
- Addition & subtraction
- Ask questions based on what is happening in the group. For example, “Joe put in 2 cups of flour and Sam put in 3, how many cups of flour have we put in the bowl?” or “We had 12 eggs when we started group, we used 4 in our recipe, how many eggs are left?”
- Multiplication & division
- Ask questions based on the recipe. For example, “There are 8 kids in the cooking group, we need to make 2 pieces of toast for each kid. How many pieces will we make?” or “We made 18 cookies, there are 6 kids in group, how many cookies will each kid get?”
- Find the correct fraction on the measuring cups & spoons
- Practice dividing up food & label each piece as a fraction. For example, “We cut the pizza into 8 pieces, each piece is ⅛ of the pizza.”
- Practice comparing fractions with the measuring cups or spoons by putting them in order from smallest to biggest.
- Talk about how much each ingredient cost, which was the most expensive or the least expensive, how much did all of the ingredients cost all together?
There are so many ways to fit math “work” into your cooking group!
ELA & Langauage skills in cooking
You can easily target ELA standards during your cooking group, too. Here are a few of the skills & standards we address during cooking:
- Reading a recipe
- Following simple directions
- Decoding unfamiliar words
- Following verbal directions
- Answering questions and talking about what students are doing
- Talking with peers- answering and asking questions with a peer
- Multiple meaning words (mix means to stir, but it is also the powdery stuff in the box like brownie mix)
We also do a lot of commenting and asking questions throughout the cooking group in my classroom. I’ll often ask students questions like “Who is stirring the batter?”, “What is Billy doing?”, “Where did she pour the milk?”, “Why did Miss P put it in the microwave?”, ”What else goes in the fridge?”, etc.
At the end of the cooking group, have students do a writing or sequencing activity. This is a great way for our students to recap or summarize what they have done, to see how much they retained, and for me to sneak some more writing into their day.
Target social studies standards in cooking groups
It is easier than you might think to fit social studies standards into your cooking group. For young students, social studies is about families, cultures, community, etc. Have students bring in a favorite recipe that their family makes, and discuss who cooks it, where and when they eat it, etc.
You could discuss different types of restaurants in your community, choose a couple, and make a recipe you might eat there. Another idea would be to research different countries and cultures and make foods from those places/people.
You can also add voting into your cooking group by posting a few recipes and voting for which one your class will cook next time.
Work on kindness, friendship, and community by cooking things for other people. How about making cookies or brownies for your local police officers, or even for your school nurse, custodian, another classroom, etc. This is a great way to integrate social studies and social skills into cooking groups.
Mix science into cooking
It is easy to incorporate whatever science topic you are covering into cooking. For example:
- Observations: “What happened to the cheese when it was in the microwave?” or “What changed after we added the water?”
- Make predictions: What do you think will happen to the batter if we put it in the cupbard instead of the fridge?
- Collecting data: Have students take data to see how many students used pepperoni or another topping when making English muffin pizzas.
- States of matter: talk about the changes ingredients go through when you combine them, heat them up or make they colder.
Kids love science and adding these skills into your cooking groups makes it even more fun!
Cooking groups are a great way to practice both functional and academic skills and standards. Grab this Cooking Life Skills Unit to help you get started.
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