Math on National Fudge Day

When I heard that today was National Fudge Day, I dug out my grandmother’s recipe book to find “Fudge Without Cooking.” Grammy reused and recycled many things, including two pieces of plywood from her friend Mrs. Bagelmann’s husband, a pharmacist. Inside, she handwrote, typed, or taped recipes on stiff manila cardboard pages.

The first page recipes begin with “Mrs. Potter’s Sponge Cake” and end with “Amalia’s Yum Yum Cake.” (Photo by K.Nollet, 2015)

Following a fudge recipe with children creates the perfect opportunity for practicing math skills. It’s a great way for students to help build confidence using math. Recipes involve other skills, too, like reading, comprehension, vocabulary, planning strategies to solve problems, thinking, rethinking, timing, and lots of measurement and estimation.

Ask students if this potato is right for the fudge. (Photo by K.Nollet, 2015)

Ask students if this potato is right for the fudge. (Photo by K.Nollet, 2015)

Plus, it’s fun to hear students hypothesize about why a potato is in the fudge.

Approach using this recipe any way you wish.  I’d probably provide the ingredients, tools, and a microwave and tell a small group of students that I had faith in their ability to figure it out.  Then, I’d assess them along the way.

For others who prefer to take it step by step, consider this approach:

1.  Students read the recipe.  Ask “What ingredients do you need and how much of each? What is your plan to obtain them?”

Shave a little chocolate off the block so children can experience the taste. (Photo K.Nollet, 2015)

Shave a little chocolate off the block so children can experience its particular taste. (Photo by K.Nollet, 2015)

2. Student read the list of ingredients.  Ask “What units of measurement are used in this recipe? What tools will you need? How is unsweetened chocolate different from a candy bar?  How many potatoes do you estimate make 1/3 cup?”

3.  Students explain the tasks that the verbs indicate, including if they need tools to complete them.  Ask them about melt, blend, mix, sift, add, knead, turn out, press.

(I encourage teachers, parents, or grandparents to let the child talk more than you do.  It’s easy to jump in and tell the answer, but don’t.  The best hands-on learning lets students discover on their own.)

IMG_3889

(Photo by K.Nollet, 2015)

Continue and release the responsibilities as much as you can.  Click on the recipe to enlarge it.

This recipe was originally printed in Parade magazine, in 1971 or 1972.  The Parade Food Editor was Beth Merriman and the photo was by Walter Strelnick.

 

 

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