How might we create and share a collection of recipes that display our many similarities and differences across Grade 4? Throughout the “Big Dinner” Inquiry-based learning (IBL) unit, students used reading, writing, and numeracy literacies, paired with critical thinking and communicating skills while leaning into the attributes of curiosity and creativity. As always they started with wonders, by talking with family about recipes common in their households and cultures.

Each student picked one recipe to explore. Many students chose a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. Addie T chose to highlight spaghetti tacos, “My mom and grandparents make it a lot. I like the recipe and have been eating it for as long as I can remember. I’ve noticed a lot of my classmates are doing breakfast foods. I’m really excited to try Emmy’s birthday crepes at home.”

During an expedition to Trader Joe’s, they researched how much their ingredients would cost and used fractions and decimal numbers to determine the exact cost of bulk ingredients.

While the visit to the grocery store felt like an adventure to most students, they were practicing fundamental literacies in a real-world setting. Charlotte M’s favorite part of the unit was going to the grocery store with her friends and getting to make a math strategy poster with what they found, “We added all of our ingredients up to see how much it would cost. Then when we got back to school, we made posters that had the ingredients and the math to show what it would cost. Then we made the decimals into fractions.”

Liam D liked that he is going to be able to share his experience with his whole class, “We got to write our own story about a time we had the dish that will be in the cookbook. I had my recipe, Giant Blueberry Pancakes, on Christmas morning. I talked about how my mom made it and my whole family ate them after opening presents. I can’t wait to see what my classmates wrote.”

Since this is the first year Grade 4 has done this IBL, Ms. Sarah Perlis was seeing her students experience this for the first time, “it was so fun to see the variety of recipes and the stories that came along with them. Seeing the pride the kids had in sharing with their classmates created an awesome sense of community and connection through math and food.”

Grade 4 partnered with the Mount Vernon Brand Team to help produce the final cookbooks, one for each individual student and one to be raffled off at Mustang Rally on April 28, 2023.

The cookbook features submissions from every Grade 4 student including hand-drawn recipes, food sketches, and stories about times they enjoyed their recipe.