Education in the Kitchen What Your Child Can Learn From Baking
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you’re probably racking your brain for the perfect recipe to bake for your loved one. There’s nothing wrong with store-bought chocolate, but there’s no topping the personal touch of some homemade baked goods. If you have kids, baking alongside them can be just as rewarding as enjoying the fruits of your labor. As an added bonus, baking is a hands-on opportunity where your child can learn all sorts of important concepts. Here is a short list of some of the educational lessons hiding in your kitchen. Math Baking is a numbers game. Just take a look at any recipe, and you’ll recognize the importance of math in building a beautiful cake. Having children measure out ingredients helps them learn about fractions and ratios. You can also test your kids by doubling or halving a recipe for multiplication and division practice. With older kids,
practice unit conversions by asking, for example, how many pints are in half a gallon. Following Directions Not unlike computer science, baking requires a strict order of operations. The wet and dry ingredients often need to be mixed separately and then folded together. It only takes one deviation from the instructions for a pastry to go from delicious to disgusting. Spending time in the kitchen, then, is a great way for kids to learn the importance of reading directions carefully and comprehending what they’ve just read. Cultural Understanding Cuisine is a fundamental part of every culture. Introducing your child to dishes from around the world will expand their horizons. Want your child to be a less picky eater? Involving them in the cooking process is the surest way to get them excited about trying new flavors and ingredients. Nutrition Now, you might not think that baking cookies will encourage greater nutritional awareness, but hear us out. Sugar is often buried within packaged foods. When you bake something at home, a child gets to see, firsthand, just how much sugar goes into certain sweets. Meanwhile, cooking savory dishes also allows them to learn what constitutes a balanced, healthy diet.
Discovering True ‘Grit’
Talent x effort = skill. Skill x effort = achievement.
If you’ve ever been told you won’t succeed because you lack talent, bring a copy of “Grit” to your next meeting.
“Effort counts twice” could be the battle cry of grit. Gritty people are willing to put in the extra effort to achieve their goals, and that’s what helps them reach their goals if they don’t have innate talent. While this provides a strong case that those born with grit will succeed, grit doesn’t factor luck and opportunity into the equation, something that Duckworth is transparent about in her book. She says those who aren’t born with grit can develop it in four simple steps. First, identify an interest that can blossom into a passion. Second, practice that passion, a lot . Third, develop the belief that your passion has purpose. While it’s not an overnight transformation, these guidelines can at least give us hope, which is the fourth step: Hold on to hope that you can succeed. Our biggest takeaway from “Grit”? Look at failures as milestones on the journey to success. Getting gritty means failing and learning from it. Any of us can get gritty if we’re willing to put in a little elbow grease.
While teaching high school math, author Angela Duckworth noticed some of her highest-achieving students weren’t the ones with the highest IQs, while some of her “smartest” students weren’t doing all that well in class. “Why?” she wondered. She followed her curiosity to Penn State’s psychology program. There, she studied several demographics, including cadets at West Point, young teachers, and sales representatives. After numerous psychological studies, Duckworth discovered that “grit” was the common denominator in successful people. Duckworth defines grit as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals.” People who display grit don’t start a project and abandon it a month later. They devote themselves to an overarching goal that drives everything they do. She explained that someone who practices grit goes through life like a marathon, not a sprint.
Perhaps most instructive is Duckworth’s equation (she was a math teacher, after all):
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