“8 eggs, 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of sugar,… Mom, is this the baking powder?”

“Hey Mom, I added extra eggs to the pancake batter because it says it only makes 3 and we have 8 people in our house.”

Yikes! Stop right there! Ever so cautiously, so as not to bruise her tender, first-time chef ego…

“Did you increase any of the other ingredients?” “Did you put the eggs in a bowl alone?” (Thinking, maybe, we could take some back out.)

“No, why?”

I guess some cooking lessons are in order for my budding chef. But for today we settled on a math lesson. So, with only half a cup of coffee in my non-morning person body, I went to the kitchen to help.

First lesson, when you increase 1 ingredient you have to increase them all. This provided some excellent opportunities for some multiplication practice. Which she has been needing to see some real-life examples of.

This also means we needed a much bigger bowl because the volume of the bowl she was trying to use was going to be much to small. So, I pulled out ‘when we have lots of visitors’ bowl out and we set out to use our math skills to fix our pancake problem.

Not only did we get to do some straight up multiplication, but we got to do multi-step problems because she had already added one recipe’s worth of sugar and flour. So we multiplied and then subtracted. Much more fun to do it in the kitchen than on a worksheet.

We also got to do some work with fractions which she has only been introduced to on a very basic level because we are using Math-U-See which masters one skill each year. This year is division. Next year is fractions. (My 10 year old is using that one.) She could only find the 1/2 cup measure, so we figured out how to get the proper amount of ingredients by doubling.

Then, she mixed it all together, and made the pancakes.

While we were eating I asked her why she thought the recipe only made 3 pancakes. (Which was her reasoning for adding the extra eggs. She wanted to make sure that we had enough for 8 pancakes. I told you some math lessons were in order… The recipe called for 1 egg, supposedly made 3 pancakes, but she wanted 8 pancakes and therefore added 8 eggs……lol!) After we got to looking at the recipe, which made “9” pancakes, I saw in tiny print on the bottom that one serving size was 3 pancakes. Ta-da! Mystery solved.

That led us to discuss how to figure out how many pancakes we really needed and how much we should have increased the recipe.

“If the recipe makes 9 pancakes and each serving is 3 pancakes how many people does it serve?”

“If we multiplied the recipe by 8 how many servings did we make?”

“If we each ate the 3 pancakes called for in the serving-size, how many meals worth of pancakes did we make?”

“If Emma eats 5 pancakes and Shiloh eats 1, how many servings did they eat altogether?”

So, rather than get upset at her for using up all the eggs (thankfully Mondays are grocery day), we had a meaningful morning of math.

How have you turned a mistake into a meaningful teaching moment in the classroom or at home? I’d love to hear about it! Please share in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!

Kim Staten says

Thanks Fern & Bonnie!

Bonnie Kathryn says

Love the new design. Pancake math is so cute! That reminds me of my mom doing the same thing with my waffles. 🙂 <br />

Kim Staten says

Thanks S.O.L! We had a lot of fun & she made some great-tasting pancakes!

S.O.L Train says

I love your new blog! I also love this idea! This looks like a fun way to learn!