Want to enrich your child’s education, but unsure of how to engage? Fear not! Valuable academic lessons do not require hours of painstaking prep and a formal classroom setting to pull off. We’ve compiled three engaging ways for parents to reinforce fundamental middle school concepts with their children in an hour or less.
BAKE A CAKE
Concepts Review: Fractions and Reading Comprehension
This is one of our favorite fraction review exercises because it’s applicable to real life, requires minimal planning, and is simply delicious. Choose a recipe that requires measuring ingredients in varying capacities, like ¼ cup or ⅔ TBSP. We love baking recipes like this Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake because it utilizes unique fraction measures for dry and wet ingredients, without requiring parents to purchase a fortune’s worth of items they will never use again. Allow your child to take the reins to test their reading comprehension skills, taking care to correct them only when necessary. Your young one will love measuring the vanilla extract and baking powder while watching a positively scrumptious dessert come to life. The best part? The lesson only lasts as long as the prep and bake time, will a tasty reward for all of your child’s hard work!
Extra Credit: Have your child double or halve the measurements in the recipe in order to practice multiplying and dividing fractions.
Concepts Review: Percent and Decimal Conversions, Price Discounts and Mark-Ups, Unit Price
You know those pesky coupon booklets with which local grocery stores spam your mailbox? Turns out they are perfect for practicing percentage and decimal conversions. Cut out 5-10 discount coupons and ask your child to calculate the new price when the discount is applied. You can also have them calculate the original price by using the discount percent and new discount price. For bulk items like 24-cans of soda, challenge your little one to calculate the unit price of a single can using the discounted price. Then, compare like items and ask them which is the better buy based on the unit price. Not only will this exercise prime your child to shop wisely, you will also have a helper when it comes to finding weekly savings!
Extra Credit: Ask your child to calculate the unit price for the original and discounted prices. Also, have them convert every percent discount into a decimal.
Concepts Review: Reading Comprehension, Information Synthesis, Vocabulary
Ask your child to summarize a current news article about a topic that he or she finds interesting. Have them summarize it for you verbally by answering “The 5 W’s: Who? Where? What? When? Why? and How?” Ensure that they keep a running list of new words and phrases as they read, and task them with using a dictionary to find and record their meaning. Before you know it, not only will your child strengthen their ability to process what they read, they will be versed on current events as well!
Extra Credit: Have your child write new sentences using the vocabulary words they define from their article.