FIAR: See the World, Do the Math, Make an Apple Pie

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman is an “instructional” picture book that takes children on a journey through the world to pick up ingredients to make an apple pie.

Lots of great shapes!

An apple pie recipe is included in the back which has obvious math. But you can use the rest of the book for some math lessons as well!

Here’s a set of math stimulators to share with your kids. Don’t forget that math is a discovery process; if your children are compelled to answer a question or not answer a question, that’s okay.

Here are the questions and some hints and coaching tips for you, the parent.

Find the shapes in the pictures.

See if you can find circles, trapezoids, ovals and rectangles. Also identify the irregular shapes. Have your children trace them and see if they’re made up of regular shapes.

How far is it from your house to Europe?

Also ask: How fast will the ship have to go in order to get to Europe from your house in six days?

How many Italian words do you think you would need to learn each day in order to speak Italian?

How many words are there in an average Italian’s vocabulary? How many words do you need to be considered fluent in Italian?

What time does your train leave Italy?

Notice the time on the clock.

This one encourages children to look at the pictures as well as the text. Also ask, “How far is it to France from Italy?” And to take it farther, “What time would you arrive in France?”

How far is Sri Lanka from France?

Pull out an atlas or globe to get some geography lessons. Also ask, “Which route do you think is the fastest to get there? Which would be the most fun?”

If you were to make two apple pies, how many apples should you pick from the apple tree?

This is what many students would call a trick question. In the book, she picks 8 apples so that she and her friends can enjoy 3 and use 5 to make the pie.

It takes some thought for a child to realize you only need 5 apples for the pie, so you’re not doubling the amount you pick. You have to double the amount for the pie (2 x 5) then add the 3 apples for the friends to enjoy.

Looking at the recipe, how much of each ingredient would you need if you made two pies?

This question allows them to double everything on the recipe. You can also triple or quadruple or get into fractions by asking, “What if you made one regular sized pie and one mini pie – how much of each ingredient would you need then?”

What’s next?

You can use the book How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World and the math stimulators in your Five in a Row math day or integrate it into any other math curriculum. Also try using the same line of questioning with other picture books you have.

Oh – and don’t forget to share how it went in the comments!

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  1. says

    I used this book for one of the home ec classes I taught at a homeschool co-op a few years ago. Here is the link to some pictures that I took with some of the activities we did: . If you move your cursor over the picture, a short description will come up. Click on the picture to read the longer description and more about the activity we did.

    My youngest daughter is using the FIAR curriculum this year. We just read the story again and made an apple pie for Thanksgiving dinner. There’s a recipe in the FIAR Cookbook that is excellent. Probably the best apple pie we’ve ever made!


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