Maths Hacks: Baking Edition

Is your child a little afraid of maths? That’s understandable, lots of people are. There’s a lot to learn and sometimes it feels like if you miss one thing, you can get left behind. Does it feel that way to your child? Numbers can be SO confusing. But do you know what isn’t confusing? CAKE. That’s what. You probably know already that we find maths everywhere in the kitchen. From the temperatures we set our ovens to, to counting down along with the timer before it goes BEEP! – there are numbers everywhere, and it all counts (get it?). Why not see if your child can increase their maths confidence by baking together?

Measurements and conversions

Baking is actually science – we know, maths AND science – amazing! For baking you need precise measurements to successfully execute a bake – common units of measurements in baking include ounces, grams, cups, teaspoons etc. UK and US recipes measure volume and weight differently, which can be confusing. Often these conversions are printed on measuring jugs or within a recipe – but helping your child understand, for example, how to convert a US cup of flour into UK grams is a great lesson. 

Facing fractions

Fractions may strike fear into the best of us, but baking is a fantastic way to really grasp them, with ¼, ½ appearing frequently in recipes. When measuring ingredients where, for example, a recipe may ask for 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder – try asking your child another way they could measure this. When your cake is made – how precisely can they divide it into quarter portions, or perhaps eighths?

Multiplication and division

Scaling recipes up or down can help a child nail multiplication and division, and also get to grips with ratios. A recipe always lets you know how many servings it produces – what needs to happen to amounts of ingredients if your bake needs to be bigger or smaller?   

Time and temps

In this digital world we live in, some children can struggle with understanding time – using a clock, your little baker can estimate what time their cake will be fully cooked by following the recipe’s instructions. Setting the oven to the correct temperature is using maths too – especially turning a dial to precisely the right line.

Don’t forget to get them to allow for different types of oven, they can learn to adjust the temperature accordingly.

Money, money, money

Finally, money! A nice challenge while you wait for the cake to be ready – imagine you’re producing this food to be sold. How much did the ingredients cost all together? What is the cost per portion to you? What could you sell a portion for? What would your profit be?

If you enjoyed easing maths anxiety through baking, then check out our other blogs to see where else you can build maths confidence through fun activities!

Words: Jennifer Newton-Brown