What is the hardest concept in sixth grade math? For many students, it’s the fractions. Kids often don’t see why they “need” fractions when decimals and calculators make “real life” so much easier. Baking is a real-world situation where 6th grade fractions are crucial. Here are some ideas to bake, bond and help your child learn why fractions are necessary for the real-world.
First, choose a recipe that has a large number of fractions. Most baking recipes will have at least some, but you can look around for one that has a larger number than others. Give your child a copy of the recipe, and ask him to identify the fractions. Then, have him convert any non-fractions into fractions. So, a recipe that calls for 2 cups of flour can now call for 4/2 of flour. Encourage the child to put all fractions in the recipe into a common denominator.
Next, have the child double the recipe. All ingredients need to be doubled by multiplying by two or adding the ingredient amount to itself. Save this copy of the recipe if you wish to make a double batch.
Once you’ve doubled the recipe, you will likely have a few whole or mixed numbers. Convert these to improper fractions. So, if you have 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda, convert this to 3/2 teaspoons of baking soda. This is not necessary to bake the recipe, but it provides the help and practice with 6th grade fractions that your child needs.
Add, Subtract, Multiply and Divide It
Before you begin baking, have a little math fun with the fractions. Ask the child to perform a variety of operations with the numbers, such as subtracting 1/2 a cup of flour or adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Remember to perform these operations on a separate paper, because this version of the recipe would not work properly.
Use the doubled recipe and prepare to bake. You can sneak in some practice with 6th grade fractions here. If the recipe calls for 1/2 of a cup of something, have the child figure out how many 1/4 cups are needed to make 1/2. Continue using the “wrong” cup to measure for more practice. After all the ingredients have been measured, it’s time to bake and enjoy the treat.
For many kids, 6th grade fractions are one of the most challenging concepts. Baking shows the kids why these facts are so important. If your child needs additional help with 6th grade fractions, consider Thinkster Math. Thinkster is a proven, engaging and helpful way to teach challenging fractions and other sixth grade math concepts at home using your iPad. With tutoring via Thinkster, you can give your child the help he needs to get through the challenges of sixth grade math.