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Guidance: Calculate with Cookit

There is a great deal of learning to be had from using food in the classroom. This section introduces you to some ideas for using Cookit! to teach maths in the classroom.

Why should we do it?

Maths can be a difficult subject for some children. Younger children in particular have difficulty grasping abstract concepts. Taking maths out of the classroom and into the kitchen can give substance to abstract concepts, like measuring, doubling, halving, capacity, ratio and proportion. Food based maths also presents real life problem solving challenges and applications.

Teaching maths through cooking also incorporates all senses into the learning experience. Children are tactile, interactive learners, by teaching in a way that involves all of their senses you make the lesson concrete and real to them. It is also lots of fun!



What might you do?


  • Explore standard units in cooking. What standard units are used in cooking? Have they always been the same? Do all countries use the same system? What are the most appropriate units to use for the different aspects of cooking? Convert a recipe from g to kg or ml to l. Consider temperature, cooking times, units and scales for measuring liquids and solids, imperial and metric. Useful conversion information can be found at This does run ads and E2BN hopes to add one to it’s own site in the near future.

  • Investigate the most appropriate/accurate measuring tools for a recipe. How could you estimate what size cake tin or mixing bowl is needed? Can you measure 10ml in a measuring jug?

  • Practise measuring accurately– using jugs for liquids, tablespoon, teaspoon. Use Cookit Cooking podcasts for measuring tips ( Make an upload a measuring clip of your own. Apple and Carrot Muffins are a great recipe with a range of liquids and solids to measure.

  • Learn to read scales- imperial and metric scales, measuring jugs, pan or spring scale, electronic scale and oven temperature dials.

  • Explore estimating- How many teaspoons do you estimate would be needed to fill a tablespoon? Test your estimates. Estimate small amounts of common ingredients e.g. 10 g flour or sugar, what does an egg weigh? A bowl of cereal? Apply some of these measurements to nutritional information based on 100g. Is 100g a sensible portion you might eat of this food? Try using a common object as a standard like a packet of crisps- estimate and measure equivalent weight in flour for example.

  • Explore capacity: If I wanted to make 3 litres of lemon barley water how many times would I need to fill the jug to capacity? You might use our Lemon Barley Water recipe for this one. What is the capacity of a teaspoon, a tablespoon?

  • Explore volume with measuring jugs; if you have measured 100ml, how many more ml could you measure in this jug?


Divide mixture butterfly cakes or gingered bread for example into 10ths, 12ths, ½- for 2 cake halves.

What fraction of a 50g bag of sugar is 10g? What fraction is 50g of butter of a 250g block?


Try halving and doubling recipes to suit a particular number. Our cottage pie serves 4, how much of each ingredient would you need to make it for 8?

Calculate the changes if you were short of an amount, what if you only had 75g of butter not 100g? What would the other


Crème caramel uses milk, sugar and eggs, for every 8ml milk, you need 5ml cream. The recipe needs a total of 650ml of milk/cream mixture. How many ml of milk would you need? How many ml of cream?

A cake has nuts/ cherries and chocolate chips in a ratio of 1:3:2, if there are 30g of fruit in total, how many g of nuts, cherries and chips are there?

Fruit punch contains 200ml orange juice, 100ml apple juice and 300ml ginger ale. What fraction of the punch is ginger ale? What is the ratio of orange juice to apple juice to ginger ale?

Try using our winter smoothie for ratio work.


The spicy meatball recipe uses 300g of minced beef and is for 6 people. How much beef is needed for 10 people? How many people would 650g of minced beef serve?


  • Explore fractions (as percentages) of an ingredient used. If you used 200g of a1kg bag of flour, what fraction have you used?

  • Explore percentages within foodstuffs. If a cereal contains 60% rice, 20% wheat and 5% sugar and the box holds 500g. How many g of wheat, rice and flour are there?

  • Use Cookit Food Groups activity (and Plate activity- due Sept 2011) to explore percentages linked to RDA’s


And of course you can combine cooking and maths into other subject areas too… what about rationing for example?

Try using our World War 2 pages in the History Cookbook to look at life and food during the war.