Monday, January 12, 2015

Soup Math

Let's face it. Some kids are just better students than others. I was one that was an "other". It amazes me that out of four, only one of my own children struggles with reading and math worksheets as much as I did.

Ironically, I love to read and do math now. Makes me wonder if it wasn't the reading and math that was the problem. At any rate, I am sure that I was a classroom teacher's thorn in the flesh.

With this in mind, I decided that maybe the problem wasn't my student, but the teacher. I have always felt that a good photographer can take a picture of a trash heap and make it look beautiful. In the same way, a good teacher can take a struggling student and make them feel accomplished.

I am not saying that I have succeeded entirely, but I am making the effort. Where does this student shine? The kitchen, no doubt. Worksheets and math drills frustrate her to no end, but in the kitchen, everything she touches turns to.. well, something yummy.

The kitchen is our classroom, and soup is our lesson. I took one of our go-to soup recipes of which I have not taken a look at the recipe in years. I simply dump everything together. Her assignment was to write the recipe with measurements. Here are the steps we took:

1. I handed her a pot for soup and told her to measure the water that we would start with. The pot would be about 2/3 full.

2. We had three potatoes, all about the same size. We weighed each potato and discovered that they were all within one ounce of each other in weight.

3. I explained what AP (as purchased) and EP (edible portion) meant. We weighed one onion straight from the onion sack. Then, I cut up the onion and we weighed it one more time. We discovered that the onion lost 1 ounce of weight after the skin was shed.

4. We had two frozen bags of green beans. Each weighed one pound as stated on the bag, so we did a quick calculation of what 2 bags would weigh.

4. She cut up a ham into cubes and weighed the total amount that was to be put in the soup.

5. We estimated the amount of spices that we would put in, keeping in mind that we would taste test after simmering and add more if needed. In the end, did not feel that was necessary.

6. Then, I had her take her notes and write out the recipe. I figured since this was the first time, I would just see how she did, then when we do this next time I would encourage her to add detail. This is her recipe:

3 and 1/4 quarts water in a large pot. Let it boil, and then put in 3 11 or 12 ounce potatoes and a 4 ounce (EP) onion. Let it cook for 5 minutes. Then, put in 1 pound and 2 ounces of ham and 2 pounds of green beans. After that, put in one tsp pepper and one tsp salt. And one tbsp. ground savory. Let it simmer.

And guess what? Supper was done as well!


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