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Excel Math Blog

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Sugar Cookie Math


Keep your students on task before the holidays with some edible math and a cookie break during this hectic season.

Have each student write out a recipe card with the following sugar cookie recipe.

Have younger students write out just the ingredients.

Feel free to let them omit adjectives such as "all-purpose" and "confectioner's."

If you let your students decorate the cookies after baking, provide plastic knives, chocolate chips, round cinnamon candies, mini-marshmallows, coconut, frosting in various colors and sprinkles.

(Make sure none of your students has allergies to any of the food items.)

Combine these ingredients and set aside:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

Beat with a mixer
8 ounces (1 stick) butter

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter, beating well. Then add
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Divide the dough into 2 balls and refrigerate for 1 hour (optional).

recipe cards

Roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thick, and cut with a cookie cutter or the rim of a small glass.

Place on a cookie sheet so the cookies do not touch.

Bake at 350º for 8 minutes or until golden (as shown in the photo below).

This recipe has no eggs, since some children have egg allergies. Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Now ask the students to double the recipe and write the new ingredient amounts on a separate index card:

4 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup sugar, 2 sticks butter

Ask the sutdents to write on the card how many cookies the recipe will make when doubled. (approximately 4 dozen or 48 cookies)

Explain that this can be written as, "Makes 4 dozen cookies" or "Yield: 4 dozen cookies."

Make a batch or two of cookie dough before class or let your students make the cookies.

Provide wet wipes or have the students wash their hands thoroughly.

Give each student a piece of wax paper and some dough. Let the students share rolling pins.

Baking Cookies

holiday cookies

Provide holiday cookie cutters or small plastic cups to use to cut the cookies.

Round cookies can be decorated as snowmen, stars, Santas and ornaments or can be sprinkled with colored sugar before baking.

Have an assistant or parent volunteer bake the cookies and let them cool while you present your math lesson of the day.

If you have time, let your students divide the original recipe in half and decide how many cookies the smaller batch will make. (1 dozen or 12 cookies)

Let each student decorate one or two cookies at a time on the wax paper or on a paper plate.

Read the class a seasonal poem or story while each student eats one of the cookies.

Provide resealable plastic bags so students can take their other cookie and recipe card home. Make sure names are on the bags.

You might want to provide water to drink and napkins or paper towels to keep hands and desks clean.

Give each student a wet wipe to clean off his area of the table or desk when the cookies are finished.

Questions about how Excel Math lessons work? Leave a comment below.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website:

Also find math resources for teachers, parents and students plus download a sample packet for Texas, Common Core or our Standard Edition at

You may also enjoy these articles:

Calming the Frenzy Over Fractions

Excel Math Helps Students Raise Test Scores

Math Placement Tests: Off to a Great Start

Five Steps to Solving Word Problems

Baking Sweets

Learn about Excel Math Summer School—a great way to prep students for spring testing.

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