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"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Baking Bear Math

Today we baked bread, forming it into a bear shape, and practiced fractions. All cooking uses fractions with measuring cups and we do a lot of cooking together, so the boys have had a lot of practice with fractions in that way. Today we practiced in a different way. This recipe makes two bear shaped breads, which was perfect for my two youngest boys. If you are doing this with one child, you can model making one, while they make the other one, or the student can make two. If you are doing this with more than two students, they can take turns dividing  the dough and making the bear.
You will need for this project:
2 pkg. (4.5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
about 6 1/2 cups flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water. (measuring with measuring cups) Heat milk, sugar, butter, and salt to 110 degrees F.(measuring of temperature with a thermometer) Add to dissolved yeast along with eggs and 3 cups of flour. Beat for 3 minutes (measuring time) on medium speed. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 3-5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a bowl, cover with a wet tea towel, and let rise 1 hour.



Here is where more fractions come in. Punch dough down and  have a student divide the dough into fourths.
Have  each student shape one of the fourths into  a ball and place each one on a greased baking sheet to serve as the body of the bear.

 Have each student now divide one of the fourths in half, and shape into a ball, and place above the body piece to serve as the head.
Give the two remaining fourth  to the two students and  have them divide each fourth into seven pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. This was a new experience for my boys, who were used to things being divided into even pieces. For their first try at this uneven dividing, they will not get them evenly divided. In this case that is okay. They won't feel like a failure because for each bear, have them pick out the four largest balls for the paws, the next two largest balls for the ears, and the smallest ball for the nose of each bear.

Place raisins or something similar on for the eyes.
Cover the bears with a wet tea towel and let them rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, or until browned.

I found the recipe and idea here at The Frugal Girl.
I have also seen this wonderful lesson with bear bread fractions at Almost Unschoolers where she include the concept of spheres as well.

7 comments:

  1. Now I'm hungry for bread again!

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  2. Oh, I just LOVE this lesson idea- "beary, beary" much! (hee! hee!)

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  3. And it still looks yummy.

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  4. They turned out great -- what a FUN and tasty math lesson!!

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  5. Love, love, love, love it! Never thought fractions could be so fantastically delicious!

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  6. okay...I really need to do this...find a way to make it gluten, dairy, egg free. Thanks for sharing the directions and ingredients needed!

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  7. I love this. I have actually linked to it in my Link treasures last Saturday.

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