5 Kitchen measurement activities your students will love!
“This is my advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun”-Julia Child
Starting the school year off with kitchen measurement makes a lot of sense because you can’t move forward having students cook without it! Many children often assume that they can bake and cook without carefully following a recipe, which can lead to chaos in the kitchen. To avoid this, our culinary arts classes prioritize teaching kitchen math as one of the initial units at the beginning of the school year. It doesn’t have to be a big bore either.
Read on for some fun activities for a seemingly dry topic!
1- Start with simple lesson plans that include a slideshow, guided notes, and questions for practice. We use this kitchen math resource that helps set the stage for executing a simple recipe. The slideshow includes a great video that helps students understand the importance of measuring exact ingredient amounts, and the correct way to measure a cup of flour and other dry ingredients, and the practice worksheets have students practicing what they learned.
2– Digital Escape Room– We also have a fun way to practice kitchen measurement by completing a kitchen measurement digital escape room. You assign this to students using a Google form in Google Classroom and they move through the clues to crack codes about kitchen measurement. These take about 40 minutes so they can make a perfect sub plan or independent assignment if you need to get things accomplished!
3- Practicing what they learn with a real recipe
There are some food labs that are great for practicing kitchen math. Some that you can use with your students include:
- Pancakes- with a good amount of ingredients and not a lot of room for error, these make a great way to check for understanding. You can also have them calculate the portion cost and cost of the entire recipe as well as double and halve the recipe.
- Cookies- Cookies can be a bit more complex but the end result is delicious and there are a lot of teachable moments during the process. Because they need exact measurements, these are good ones for reviewing scraping ingredients and basic measurement skills. I mean, it took me a long time to get my cookies to come out looking good, not just tasting good.
- Salad Dressing- Making homemade salad dressings is a great way to teach students how to measure and mix liquids like olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice. This recipe can also be used to teach students about the importance of using proper ratios and proportions when measuring ingredients. This is helpful for you as well if you plan on doing a salad unit and need dressings to go along with it! You can store the dressings the kids made for later use.
- Smoothies: Smoothies are a healthy and fun recipe that can teach students how to measure and mix ingredients like fruit, yogurt, and milk. This recipe can also be used to introduce students to different types of measuring tools, like measuring cups and spoons. This might be a good beginner activity because if they make a mistake, it will still turn out fine usually even if they improvise the original recipe.
4- Videos! Do your students enjoy watching short videos on a culinary topic? These can be a great way to reinforce important concepts such as this! We love this Kitchen Cunundroms video:
5- Calculating Costs: Help students understand the financial aspect of cooking by teaching them how to calculate the cost of a recipe. This involves multiplying the cost per unit of each ingredient by the quantity used, then adding up the total cost. Encourage students to think about ways to reduce costs by substituting ingredients or shopping for deals. This is more advanced but is very valuable when planning a menu.
Why Teach Kitchen Math?
There are several reasons why high school students should learn kitchen measurement at the beginning of culinary arts:
- Accuracy: Cooking requires precise measurements to ensure the right balance of ingredients and the best possible outcome. Understanding and using proper kitchen measurements from the beginning can help students avoid mistakes and achieve more accurate results.
- Consistency: In addition to accuracy, consistent measurements are important for replicating recipes and maintaining quality over time. Teaching proper kitchen measurements at the beginning of culinary arts can help students develop good habits and create consistent, reliable dishes.
- Safety: Cooking can be a dangerous activity, and incorrect measurements can lead to accidents or injuries. Proper measurements can help ensure that ingredients are mixed correctly and cooked to the appropriate temperature, reducing the risk of accidents in the kitchen.
4. Professionalism: For students who are interested in pursuing culinary arts as a career, understanding proper kitchen measurements is an essential part of being a professional chef. Knowing how to accurately measure ingredients and produce consistent, high-quality dishes is a fundamental skill for success in the culinary industry.
Overall, learning kitchen measurement at the beginning of culinary arts is essential for developing good habits, achieving accurate results, maintaining consistency, promoting safety, and preparing students for a successful career in the culinary arts.
Whether students are preparing to cook for themselves or to work in a professional kitchen, kitchen math is an essential part of life skills. These educational resources can help to lay the groundwork for kids. Personally, I can remember learning about kitchen measurement when I was in middle school and it stuck with me for life.