Elijah has a newfound interest in baking- late-night baking. There’s something about the 9 o’clock hour that makes him want to pull out the measuring cups. I was resistant at first. I’m TIRED at 9 o’clock! However, he is tremendously focused in these later hours. The house is quiet and there are no other distractions. Last night we decided to make big, fat chocolate chip cookies. This is, by far, our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe – not the least bit healthy, but VERY yummy!
I got out the computer and the ingredients and he was on his way. He read the recipe and, as we decided to double the recipe to store some dough, he doubled each of the ingredients and added them as he went. Some were straightforward- 1/2 tsp doubled = 1 tsp. When we got to the butter, however, I stood back and waited – ready to get the pen and paper and draw out a quartered pie. The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup of butter. He has never done anything actively or with intention with fractions except practically when dividing this or that in half.
Quickly and simply he said, “Hmm. 3/4 + 3/4 is 6/4. 1 and 2/4 . 1 and 1/2 cups!”
WHAT? “Can you tell me how you did that?” I asked. It took me through middle school to be able to work with fractions like that. And I still didn’t understand the practical application. It was numbers on a paper.
“Not really,” he replied.
End of story. He knows what he needs to know and learns skills as they make sense by building on previous knowledge. This is the basis of learning theory. It’s awesome and amazing and brilliant. This is life.