Learning Tip: Now You're Cooking
By Susan Dichter
Kids love to mix, crack, squeeze, dice, chop, and pour ingredients! These activities are so natural, so removed from the classroom, that no one sees them as education. But think about it. When you cook, you touch upon practically the entire curriculum—mathematics, language arts, reading, science, and social studies. Your child reads the recipe, talks about it, and may also estimate how much to increase/decrease the ingredients. He measures them out, wondering aloud about how baking soda works, or why heat makes a sauce thicker. He compares his dish to something he had at a friend's house, recognizing how food changes from household to household, culture to culture.
Where his recipe leads him is up to him—and you. When he sees that his dish is different from the one his Italian friend makes, then you might talk about Italian culture. If the green beans he uses cook in less than a minute—but another vegetable takes far longer—you might find yourselves thinking about the properties of vegetables, even how the green bean gets from the garden to your table.
Unlike the recipe itself, there are no limits here. Anything goes!
Susan Dichter wears many hats—mother, writer, former teacher, museum director, and librarian; her books include Teachers: Straight Talk from the Trenches.
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