Wednesday, February 8, 2017

If you give a kid a math problem...

Food allergies take over your life. We're currently working on a new review -- a unit on Money from Math Mammoth.  As we started, I felt Damien was far enough in his usual curriculum (Math U See Beta) to tackle it, but today I discovered he was a little short on subtraction skills when he realized he couldn't subtract five from one, but knew that 55 was less than 71.  Today's crash course: borrowing.

This problem needed only "single" borrowing.  When Jude was learning to borrow, I tried to explain it sixteen ways to Sunday until I finally hit on something concrete that was important to him -- food.  I went with that example first this time and explained borrowing by saying "I asked you to give me five cookies, but you only have one.  You need to borrow some from somebody else so you can give me five.  You can go to Jude and say, 'Hey, do you have any extra cookies I can borrow?'  Here, the five borrows from the seven..."  Damien got it right away.

A page later, he was trying to subtract 78 cents from a dollar - or 100 cents.  He couldn't borrow from the tens place, because that had a zero.  Back to the cookie analogy: Damien needed to give me cookies, but had none. He tries to borrow from Jude, but HE has none. Jude has to borrow from Matthew, then give Damien some of what was borrowed.  I could only laugh at Damien's response: "I kinda get it, but you can't eat his kind, you're allergic. Shouldn't Jude to borrow from Dad since you have the same allergies? "

Point, Damien.

He then pointed out he didn't have any cookies to lend me to start with -- could we make his kind of cookies?  Well played, kid.   We searched and found a recipe from Blissful Basil that looked re-workable.  The lesson of the day?  If you give a kid a math problem, he's probably going to want a cookie to go with it.

Oatmeal Sunbutter Cookies

1 cup Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter)
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract*
1 cup oat flour**
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut milk + 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice***

Ingredient notes:

*Since vanilla extract isn't on our safe list, we used 2 tsp. of 896 Aged Gold Rum.  It's aged in oak barrels, so it gives it a vanilla undertone, extracts alcohol-soluble flavors, and adds moisture.

**If you don't have oat flour in your pantry, pulse 1 cup quick-cook oats in a blender or food processor until flour-y.

***Either option tastes fine, but do not omit unless you are planning to eat them all immediately.  The dough needs to be slightly acidic so that the sunflower seed butter doesn't react with any unused backing soda, or else the cookies may turn green if kept overnight.  They're perfectly safe to eat, but it can be a little disconcerting.


Preheat oven to 350*F.

Cream together the sunflower seed butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy - about 3-4 minutes with a stand or hand mixer.

Add in vanilla extract and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking soda, and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mix. Mix on low until combined, then add milk.  Continue mixing until the liquid has been absorbed.

Portion dough onto cookie sheets in about 1 tablespoon drops.  (We used a small (#40) ice cream disher.) If you use a spoon, roll the dough into balls.

Slightly flatten the tops with a fork, if desired, to get the traditional "criss-cross" pattern like on a peanut butter cookie.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly browned.

Somebody wanted to make sure none of the cookies got "borrowed" before he had a chance to eat them.

Cool on cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes so the structure can set.  (If you move them too quickly, they will fall apart.) Transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool.

Store lightly covered (if you have any that aren't eaten!).

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