- Grade level: Middle School
- Subject Area: Math
In this unit, students will conduct Internet searches to find recipes for appetizers, main courses, side dishes, and desserts that appeal to them. They will then plan (and, optionally, cook) a dinner for their families or friends, taking into consideration the cost of the items they will need to buy in order to do their cooking, and the amounts they will need to buy in order adequately to feed a given number of people. Students will report on their dinners and compile their menus into a class Web cookbook.
- Learn about the math skills associated with shopping for and cooking meals.
- Use the Web to conduct research and publish finished products of the unit.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as a World Wide Web browser. In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Classroom resources: Cookbooks.
- Internet access: A medium-speed or higher connection.
Unit Lesson Plans
- Lesson One: Selecting and Analyzing Recipes. Students use the Web and other resources provided to select several recipes to combine into a menu they can cook for their families at home.
- Lesson Two: Planning and Shopping for the Menu. Taking into consideration the number of people they plan to serve and the amount of money they have to work with, students plan their menus in preparation for buying the appropriate amounts of the necessary ingredients at the grocery store.
- Lesson Three: Creating a Web Cookbook. Students report briefly on their experiences shopping and cooking dinner for their families. Students use HTML editing software to write their menus, including suggestions based on their own experiences cooking them, cultural and social context for the recipes, and pictures or graphics if they choose.
Relation to Standards
We have drawn upon the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards project in developing the What's for Dinner? unit. These standards may help teachers to focus math and geography learning in their classrooms.
One Computer versus Many
The plans for this unit are tailored to fit teaching situations where students have access to several computers with an Internet connection. To accommodate classrooms that do not have access to a computer lab with full Internet connections, students can work in research groups to explore Internet sites and conduct their research.
If you have only one computer with Internet access, you may choose to do one of the following:
- If you have the technology, you may connect the computer to a TV monitor or LCD projector. This will allow the whole class to see sites in the preliminary stages when students are exploring sites created by other children.
- You may choose to have students take turns working in groups using the computer with Internet access.
- You may also download files from the Internet and save them on a disk. Now you can transfer the files you saved on a disk to the other non-Internet computers. Installing copies of your Web browser on all non-Internet computers will allow you to view the pages you saved to a disk. This will not allow students to explore hyper-links, but they will be able to access and view the information by opening each file with the Web browser.