Summer Mathematics Adventure #2 - Summertime Lemonade
Opportunities for counting and measuring and calculating abound in the kitchen. In our family, lemonade is a regular summertime treat when we have friends and family over. Our favorite recipe for lemonade is designed to make 1 gallon of lemonade - enough for quite a big crowd!
*Recipe: Mix together 2 cups sugar and 1 cup hot water until the sugar dissolves. Mix in 2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Add enough cold water (about 12 cups) to make 1 gallon of lemonade. Pour over ice and garnish with lemon slices and sprig of mint.*
The littlest kids can help with the making of the lemonade - use 1 cup measuring cups, so they can practice their counting.
Slightly older kids can think about how the quantities would change to make smaller amounts of lemonade - what if you want to make ½ gallon? What if you want to make ¼ gallon (also known as 1 quart)? What if you want to make ⅛ gallon (also known as 1 pint)?
For older kids, more complex calculations can come into play. How many lemons do you need? It turns out that 1 large lemon gives you about ¼ cup of lemon juice. How many large lemons will you need to make 1 gallon? What if you open your ‘fridge, and discover that you have exactly 2 large lemons? How much lemonade can you make with just 2 large lemons? What if you want to have a lemonade stand? What is the cost of ingredients in each cup of lemonade?
Cooking from recipes is a great way to engage in hands-on fraction arithmetic. And don't get too tied to remembering "da rules". Just help your kid think through it. "What do we know? What do we need to find out? How are these related?" Have fun. Tinker with the actual physical amounts, and he/she will likely figure it out eventually.
Think about it - when faced with the prospect of sharing a package of candies fairly, even the youngest kids can manage this without knowing anything formal about division.