Not all students love math, but odds are, most of them enjoy food. Which is why the College of Coastal Georgia’s School of Education and Teacher Preparation has tapped into gastronomic methods to help current and future teachers create a love for learning in students.
It was announced this week the school of education has been awarded a state Improving Teacher Quality grant. The funds will be used to launch an innovative outreach proposal, one that will assist teachers in providing practical math lessons in the classroom through cooking and food science.
The multi-discipline approach combines teaching methods from the college’s education, arts and sciences, culinary arts and business and public affairs programs.
“The overarching goal of this project is to provide quality professional learning experiences targeted for grades four to eight teachers that expand the scope of their mathematics content knowledge through the culinary arts,” said Sharon Sellers-Clark, assistant professor of education. “The strategies should integrate students’ perception of mathematics with their everyday lives, deepen their conceptual knowledge of mathematical and scientific processes, develop students’ problem solving and critical thinking skills, and improve students’ interest through real-world application.”
Courtenay Miller, assistant professor of mathematics education, and Laura Lynch, assistant professor of mathematics, will serve as project co-directors.
Math curriculum for students in 4th and 5th grade, as well as in middle school, focuses on integral skills that are prominent in cooking and the food service industry. By applying real-world situations to the math theories learned in the classroom, students will be able to more thoroughly grasp concepts, Sellers-Clark said.
“In grades four and five, the combination of math and cooking includes multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, scaling/resizing, measurement, conversion and word problems ranging from time intervals to money, cost and portion sizes,” Sellers-Clark said. “In grades six through eight, math education includes concepts such as ratios, percentages, proportions and equations, all of which can be illustrated through cooking.”
Twelve teachers in the Glynn County, Dooley County and Camden County public school systems will be invited to participate in the two-week summer workshop centered on using food as a math motivator.
United Way of Coastal Georgia will serve as a community partner, recruiting up to 24 students in grades four to eight through sponsored summer enrichment programs that provide children with hands-on experiences.
“We are combining intensive teacher training with appropriately aged children to test the effectiveness of this approach,” Sellers-Clark said. “The culinary arts consultants are developing six recipes that can be used in the classroom and will train the instructors in food preparation. The co-directors will provide guidance in tying together the recipes and the state standards for lesson plans. They will also visit the participating teachers’ classrooms during the fall to provide support and ensure successful implementation.”
From buying groceries to making bread, cobblers and lasagna, math is part of the cooking process, Sellers-Clark said.
“This is using a practical application to develop lesson plans that instructors will then test with real students during the workshop,” she said.
The Brunswick News