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Learning division is easier with cupcakes

New math class a delicious hit

Comstock Park — Sixth-graders followed recipes for cupcakes, Italian dishes and other desserts. They popped them into the oven, then went to lunch. And by the time they returned, their baked creations were ready to eat.

Not surprisingly, the new Math for Life class is very popular with Mill Creek Middle students. 

 “The kids love it,” said teacher Lisa Thompson, who created the class.

Jayden Schaafsma liked the class because she could bake one or two dishes per week. Her favorite baked creation was an alfredo dish made with cream cheese, milk and parmesan.

“I learned a lot and got to run around,” she said, noting that she learned about measurements and how to use division. She also learned how to work with others, as students worked in groups of four or five.

Grant-funded Fundamentals

Thompson created the class with the help of a $1,500 grant from the Comstock Park Educational Foundation. The nine-week project-based learning class is held in the former life skills classroom, which now includes a full kitchen and four ranges. Thompson said she has heard a lot of positive feedback from parents.

Students learn basic skills including how to safely hold knives, different slicing styles and simple tasks such as washing dishes. They are graded on participation and meeting deadlines.  

For one project, students were tasked to create $5 meals that included inexpensive items such as spaghetti or tacos. Others focused on healthy ingredients. For their final project, they designed and created a 3D model of a food truck. 

Jayden’s truck was Wacky Waffles, which offered breakfast items including Belgian waffles and eggs Benedict.

“We first created the menu and had to color it, and we had to type out actual food,” Jayden said.

Classmate Eden Shelner’s food truck featured pizza, garlic bread and French fries. 

“Building (the truck) was my favorite. I got to design the inside of it,” Eden said.

Aiden O’Brien created a sushi food truck. He put his math and science knowledge to work in designing the food truck in the prescribed space.

Aiden also enjoyed being able to move around in class, and said he learned how to measure ingredients and baked for the first time.

Before taking the class, “I thought you just throw stuff in the oven and it would turn out,” he said.

Read more from Comstock Park:
Pinch pots, penguins, pumpkins & more
A trip to the school store

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Karen Gentry
Karen Gentry
Karen Gentry covers Comstock Park. She moved to the Grand Rapids area in the mid-1980s and has been a resident of Comstock Park since 2002. She understands the complexity, rewards and challenges of the teaching profession as she has five years of experience as a high school teacher at River Valley High School in Three Oaks, Mich. and St. Stephen High School in Saginaw. As a reporter for the Advance Newspapers and Mlive she covered Sparta, Kent City and Northview schools. She is happy to be a part of the great team of journalists at School News Network and writing about Comstock Park Public Schools. She is a graduate of Lake Michigan Catholic High School in St Joseph, Michigan and Central Michigan University. Read Karen's full bio

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