Learning Fractions the Banana Bread Way

Last week bananas were piling up on my kitchen counter. It was quickly becoming a DEFCON “EWWW” situation.

I needed to bring resolution to the predicament ASAP because I really, really don’t like to waste produce.

Enter my favorite banana bread recipe which uses 4 bananas. Not a problem! I had 6 bananas. I was going to leave the other two bananas sitting there all lonely and forlorn on the counter when I realized I didn’t have to waste them. I could make a batch and a half of banana bread because I’m good with fractions.

I went to public school, folks.

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I know what you are thinking. “Annisa, this is starting off as a pretty lame story. Why are you even writing about this? This isn’t a big deal.”

To which I say, “if you only knew what I DON’T write about.”

It is a big deal (to me) because one of my kids is learning fractions. Also known by my third grader as the END OF THE WORLD.

I didn’t know math could be the root of so much melodrama.

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I learned the hard way that my child is learning fractions before basic division. In other words, explaining fractions using the dirty word “division” pushes the child’s “FREAK OUT RIGHT NOW” button.

It does beg the chicken and the egg question. Which should you learn first?

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If I was a really clever mom, I would have baked the banana bread WITH my child and talked about how I was increasing the recipe using fractions.

I’m not that clever and I had already started baking when I realized this would be a really good “Project Based Learning” lesson.

I came up with a way to save the lesson though. I divided (there’s that dirty word again) the batter into small ramekins instead of putting it all into a loaf pan. See where I’m going with this?

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During snack time that day, we had a fantastic, hands-on discussion about fractions.

“If you eat 1 banana bread that equals 1/6 of the total.”

“If we eat 3 banana bread ramekins, that equals 3/6. 3/6 is also known as 1/2.”

“If we have 6 whole banana ramekins, that can be written as 6/1 or 6.”

And so on and so forth. I daresay there was learning occurring without the children even realizing what was happening. You know if I would have slapped another worksheet in front of the kid all holy hell would break loose.

And that would just be my reaction.

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Because we did have a legitimately awesome discussion about fractions during snack time, I decided that was enough extra math for the day.

Mommy was exhausted.

I really think “Learning Fractions the Banana Bread Way” is going to catch on in academia. Aren’t you happy to have gotten in on the ground floor of this trend?

Free Learning Resources:
My Favorite Banana Bread Recipe
Khan’s Academy: Explaining Whole Numbers as Fractions

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