Easy As Pie… Pie
No Melting, No Mixer, No Baking, No Microwave, No Dishes, NO PROBLEM!
Students apply math such as repeated addition of fractions, multiplying fractions, simplifying fractions and measurement conversion to increase a mini pie recipe. Best part…. They make the recipe after with this 1000% classroom friendly process.
Guys…. I’m not usually one to toot my own horn…. but… 🥳 🥳 YOU HAVE to try this in your classroom.
I racked my brain to come up with a pie recipe that didn’t require melting butter, a hand mixer, oven, or mess, that still incorporated math and fun. One that would allow for success, and learning by the students. One that would leave the teacher feeling triumphant, and a desire to repeat the lesson the following year.
I wrestled with this idea for the day struggling to come up with a process I felt like I could present to you…. when finally plastic bags came to mind! I couldn’t find ANYTHING that supported the idea of whipped cream in a bag but, in theory, it should work… To be clear, my theories of “It should work,” don’t always play out the way I would hope…. However, THIS. ONE. DOES.
Every “piece” of that pie #punintended is made in a ziplock bag with ingredients that simply require measuring. Best part, it’s delicious, and can easily be altered for any of your kiddos with food allergies. I’m convinced this is sure to be a favorite and memorable activity with your class! ? If you do this in your classroom, please, please, please, tag me!
****This product has been updated to include Pi Day Versions, as well as a version that will work ANY TIME OF THE YEAR. #piealldayeveryday
- Gallon Ziplock bags
- Pie tin (1 pie serves 8-10)
- Wax paper
- Graham Crackers (1 1/2 sleeves or packages per pie)
- Dry Pudding Mix (2 boxes of 3.4 oz instant pudding mix per pie)
- (Approximately 2 boxes of instant pudding mix: 3.4oz | 1 box = 1/2 cup)
- Milk (2 Cups per pie)
- Whipping Cream (8oz per pie)
- Powdered Sugar
• Spatula or spoon to spread the filling
• Measuring Cups
• Measuring Spoons
• Rolling Pin, mason jars, or cups to crush the graham crackers.
• Serving Utensils, Plates, Napkins, Forks
Divide the class into groups of 8-10. Each group will be working together to make one regular size pie to share at the end of the activity. The recipe is separated by three parts: crust, filling, whipped topping. Each group will need to separate themselves into 3 additional groups. Each group will be in charge of completing one of the recipe’s subgroup.
Once divided into their smaller groups (crust, filling, or whipped topping,) the students will work together to make the adjustments to the recipe. In order to have the measurements for a regular-sized pie as opposed to a single serving, students will need to multiply or use repeated addition each measurement x8. The recipe I have created will allow for this and the numbers will work out nicely for your students when calculated correctly.
Also included in this packet is an accountability sheet. It is up to you when the students will start on this sheet. I think it could be beneficial to start them on it now. The first half asks students to write the names in their groups and record the students’ responsibilities. My hope with this is that the tasks required will involve everyone and prevent one or two from taking it over. Students could write down the tasks before moving on, that way more than likely everyone will have a task to enjoy and complete.
The bottom half of this sheet would be best completed at the end of the activity. Here they rate the success of their group, their pie, their attitude, understanding of math concepts…etc.
When students have their measurements they will move into actually making their pie. I’ve included a few tips for each subgroup.
Crust: Students will need to ground up the graham crackers into a consistent crumb mixture. Students will need to make sure all of the air is removed from their ziplock, and be careful not to puncture it. A rolling pin, the bottom of a cup, or the palm of their hand will work great to achieve this. Encourage them to achieve a sand-like mixture. Once the consistency is correct students will add the oil to the bag and mix throughout. When the oil is balanced in the mixture students will then empty the mixture into a pie tin. ***The next part will need the student to press the mixture into the pan. This can be done by hand, but STRESS CLEAN HANDS. Wax paper is also very useful to separate the mixture from little hands. (See the video for example) Put the wax paper over the mixture and press the crumb crust into the pie tin using the paper as a guard.
Filling: Students will put the ingredients for the filling into a gallon ziplock bag. Make sure they remove as much air as possible before kneading the mixture. The colder the milk before you start, the better the results. Students will knead the pudding until it begins to thicken, approx. 3-4 minutes. Remember the recipe calls for the pie to chill before serving. It will set up better at this point. Once the filling has thickened, simply cut the corner of the sealed ziplock bag and “pipe” the mixture into the pie tin. Use a spatula or spoon to spread evenly.
Whipped Topping: This is probably the most finicky of the three. However, it very well may be the most fun as well! Students will place the whipping cream into a gallon ziplock bag. The students will then need to seal the bag, this time with AS MUCH AIR in the bag as possible. Before mixing I highly suggest chilling the mixture before shaking. 10 minutes in the fridge or freezer will do the trick. Once chilled, students will begin shaking the sealed bag. Shake the bag for two minutes straight. At the two-minute mark, students should check the consistency, at this point they should see air bubbles or notice it thickening. Students will now add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Add as much air to the bag, seal, then shake the mixture for 1 minute, checking the consistency again at the minute mark. At this point, the mixture will have been mixed for 3 minutes. Going forward students will begin to shake the mixture in 30-second intervals, checking the consistency at the end of each time segment, sealing off as much air as they can and repeating. When the cream can hold its shape, it is done. ****Be careful not to over-mix. If students end up with cream that has separated, (look curdled) they have over-mixed and are on their way to making butter. Simply add a little more cream, knead, and chill to combat the over-mixed consistency. When consistency is right you can either add the topping to the pie, or chill and serve with pie once it has set up.
Have students complete the reflection, then ENJOY!!
A couple of thoughts on adjustments that can be made:
The flavor! Best part about using an instant dry pudding mix is that you aren’t limited to flavor possibilities. You could put the flavor options on the board before the activity and divide students into groups based on the top 3. We’re talking chocolate, coconut, pistachio, LEMON…
Add fruit as a topping. Bring in a basket of strawberries, or blueberries, or a bunch of bananas, a bag of chocolate chips…etc. Challenge the students to figure out how to evenly separate the topping amongst the groups. Fractions, pictures, math of any sort is highly encouraged. Have each group decide on a favorite method, have each group present their method to the class. Then, vote on which method they think will work the best and DO IT.
If you have a student or students with food allergies you can always have them bring in, or purchase yourself: Gluten Free, Dairy Free Graham Crackers. (No reason these won’t work!) As for the instant pudding mix, most are dairy and gluten free. However instead of using cow milk, try almond but only use half of the amount required. See this post for more information. *****If you only have one student with a food allergy, encourage them to try the single-serving recipe. My three year old and I did this, and it worked out great. ****We used the original ingredients. As for the whipping cream, I’ve heard awesome things about coconut cream. Check out this post for more information. Amazon is always a great choice for coconut cream.
If you plan to complete this activity on Pi Day, (Remember this product includes non-pi day versions) which I can’t think of a more appropriate activity!?! Make sure to download this FREE Extension made to be completed on Pi-Day.
Students will learn about pi, circumference, diameter and radius as they find those measurements on their PIE! They will determine the difference between their calculations and pi. As well be introduced to the first 400 plus digits in pi, and encouraged to memorize as many as they can. Did you know the record for the longest pi recitation is 70,000 digits…… yeah. Blindfolded. No big deal.
This Pi Day Extension activity is an exclusive FREEBIE available only to members of On Lemon Lane! You must be signed in, in order to access the download.
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While we’re talking about FREEBIES… Don’t forget about Pi Day Poetry! I LOVE this writing challenge. Challenge your students to some creative writing with these parameters: students must write a story or poem that match up the amount of letters in a word to the consecutive digits in Pi. For example, the first 3 digits in Pi is: 3.14 So the first word in everyone’s writing must be a 3 letter word, followed by a 1 letter word, next is a four-letter word, and so on and so forth! This is a free Google Sheet Resource. If you would like access to the Digital version that you can assign to google classroom, you must be signed in to your On Lemon Lane account.
Download the Exclusive Digital Freebie Here
If you’re looking for more Multiplying Fraction ideas or would like to share your own ideas please join our member-only Teaching on Lemon Lane Facebook Group!
I hope you’re as excited about this idea as I am! I would LOVE to hear from you and how they go. Nothing brightens my day like being tagged in your classroom work on Instagram! Happy Teaching!
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