Objective: Students will estimate and measure using standard and non-standard
Materials: Items listed on the recipes, pencils, paper
Background: Life is like a spider's web. And this web of life is made up of millions of
different kinds of plants and animals and the interactions between them, and all of the
different habitats that they live in. All species, including us humans, from the tiniest of
micro-organisms and insects, to the tallest trees and the biggest whales, all depend on
a healthy natural world for survival. For both people and wildlife, the web of life is
extremely important. It provides the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we
Think for a moment about all the different foods we eat - all the fruits and vegetables,
wheat, rice and other crops, coffees and teas, chocolate, etc. Many of the foods that are
common in our North American households originated in the rain forests. Avocado,
banana, black pepper, Brazil nuts, cashews, chocolate/cocoa, coffee, cola, ginger,
jalapeno, lemon, orange, peanut, pineapple, potato, tomato, and vanilla all came to us
first from the rain forest. One interesting fact is that Brazil nuts cannot be grown in a
plantation. They can only be gathered wild from rain forests where they're found.
Carefully read through the list of ingredients. Divide class into small groups. Assign
each group a specific rain forest food and ask each student within that group to bring
from home one or more of the ingredients. The teacher may have to provide cooking
utensils, pans, measuring cups/spoons, storage containers, etc.
Discuss how each ingredient can be related to the rainforest.
On baking/cooking day, take groups to the kitchen and prepare each treat. During
preparation, discuss how mathematics applies to the measurements in each recipe.
As an additional activity, brainstorm a list of foods that come from the tropical
rainforests. Write them on the board. Have students make up their own recipes using
the foods listed. Have students vote on their favorite recipes and then invite the
"inventor" of the recipes to make their recipes and share with the class.
Attached is a list of treasures from the rain forests. Make a copy for each of your
students and have them do a "treasure hunt" in their home. Discuss with the students
the many things we would miss if the rain forest disappeared. When they return the list
to school, review with the class and reward the winning "treasure hunter" with a rainforest
Go to Smithsonian National Zoological Park and visit the "Amazonia Exhibit" virtual
Math, Visual Arts
SD Standards for 4th grade:
Classroom, School Kitchen
Inference, Critical Thinking, Prediction,
Prior Preparation: Make copies of
each recipe to handout to students.
Gather together the cooking "tools"
you will need to complete the activity -
pans, aluminum foil, spatulas, etc.
Schedule the school kitchen for a visit
from your class.