I’m always on the search for new project based learning ideas and the best ones usually come from my kids, just like this Planning A Meal project. Check out how we integrated math, science, writing, reading and problem solving into this quick and easy PBL program and feel free to download it for yourself down at the bottom of the page.
Step 1: Choose a Recipe
I checked out a few kid-friendly recipe books at the library and set them out on the table for the kids to flip through. They could either choose an existing recipe or create a recipe themselves. My youngest chose to make smoothie recipe that he found (it was amazing!) He is five, so this was the PERFECT recipe for him and I’m so glad he chose it.
My older son is eight and at first chose to make a burrito bar that we could dip in tomato soup (so creative!) but switched mid-way to pancakes. We ended up making both and the burritos were fantastic.
Step 2: Ingredients & Math
Then comes the math element of our project based learning idea. The students list out all the ingredients in the recipe and guess how much they cost. I love that my eight-year-old thought tortillas cost $17.99 and chicken cost $3.00. Then, we checked out a grocery store website and wrote down the actual prices. We did a bit of math to understand the difference for each item and the total difference in cost. Overall, he was not that far off!
Step 3: Incorporating Writing Into Project Based Learning Ideas
The next step is to jot down the directions for making the recipe in your own words. We did this for pancakes, which helped my son figure out how to make the recipe.
Step 4: Cooking
Then, we made the recipe. I love a project based learning idea that culminates in the creation of something delicious! A lot of great fraction work here as we were using a 1/4 tsp and figuring out how to make 2 tsp using that, etc. I let my eight-year-old use the mixer and the stove, with supervision, and he felt very grown-up throughout the process.
Step 5: Analyze
Once we eat the delicious food, we jot down a few notes about it. Did we like it? Would we do anything different next time, etc. This is a project that can be used over and over again, and the kids really enjoyed the program. It was also fairly short, so we did it all in one day, a nice change from some of our week-long projects.
I definitely recommend you try it out with your kids as it’s one of the best project based learning ideas we’ve tried this year. Whether you homeschool and can make the food right away, or teach in a classroom setting and give them the option to cook the recipe at home, it was really an empowering program for the boys and they have much more interest in the kitchen now and how meals get planned and put together.
Download Project Based Learning Ideas
The Planning A Meal packet download is available below. Enjoy and I hope you make something amazing! And if you’re interested in additional resources, this Menu Math PBL project is also really fun!