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December 13, 2017

Making Merry With Munchie Munch and Math

By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    It’s the most wonderful (hectic, stressful, time-crunched) time of the year. I love making and gifting with my class and my own sons, but there are days when I find my patience, pocketbook, and time all running a tad too short. Enter our favorite Munchie Munch recipe. It’s quick, easy, and can even be made in a classroom on a budget to serve up to 50 friends or family members. Throw in some easy math tie-ins and you’ve got a tasty holiday treat in more ways than one.

    The Ingredients

    This is how I construct my Munchie Munch, but the possibilities are endless. Omit the nuts and look for gluten-free cereals if allergies are a concern. If you feel like emptying your cupboards of snack leftovers or bits of odd candy pieces, toss them on in. Even colored sugar will work. For a different look, use dark chocolate bark or omit the chocolate all together for something less sugary. Change up the holiday sprinkles and use colors reflecting different holidays, such as blue and white for Hanukkah if you want to get away from the traditional red and green of Christmas. No need to be brand-specific; store and discount brands will yield just as tasty of a final product.

    • 1 box Wheat Chex cereal
    • 1 box Rice Chex cereal
    • 1 box oat circle cereal
    • 1 large bag pretzel sticks (Nibs, peanut-butter filled, or any preferred type will work.)
    • 2 large bags of M&Ms (I like the holiday-colored ones for some festive flair.)
    • 2 bags of dried cranberries
    • 2 blocks (12 squares each) almond bark
    • Holiday sprinkles, if desired
    • Any nuts, if desired
    • Parchment or wax paper
    • Small sandwich bags or clear treat bags

    The Recipe

    This recipe can be made at home, but works well on large cafeteria or classroom tables. Because there is some cooling time, consider starting before lunch or recess to allow time for the chocolate to harden.

    Cover your workspace with parchment or wax paper. If you’re in a pinch, aluminum foil with cooking spray coating will work. Pour the cereals, pretzels, nuts, and cranberries evenly over the surface. You, or students, can mix the ingredients by hand and spread them into an even single layer. Heat the almond bark in a glass dish in the microwave according to the package directions. Once melted, pour over the cereal mix. Let cool for a few seconds and then mix with a spoon. Students have real fun omitting the spoon and “stirring” by (absolutely clean) hand. Smooth back into a more even layer and sprinkle with M&Ms and holiday sprinkles. Let cool until stiff, about 20 minutes. Gently lift and separate chunks into 1-2 cups and place in plastic or treat bags. The ingredients above will yield about 50 sandwich bags.


    The Learning Connections

    Measurement is a key concept starting in early math. Kindergarten students can count finished bags, ingredients, or cups as you work to make the Munch together. If you mix Munch ahead of time, challenge kindergarteners to sort and classify the ingredients.

    Create a simple bar graph for first graders and have them fill in with how many cups of each ingredient. Have them tally which ingredient is the largest amount by how many cups.

    Second and third grade use customary measurements and can measure the ingredients and finished product in cups or weigh bags with ounces.

    Third grade can stretch their estimation skills by figuring out how many bags will be filled and rounding their total bags when finished.

    By fourth and fifth grade, students can use fractions of the whole or decimals notation to determine how much Munch is made of each ingredient.

    Sixth grade students can figure out the percentage of each ingredient contained in the whole or each bag.

    Many grades can work to determine the total cost of the ingredients and older grades can determine the cost per bag or the cost per ounce.

    Cover health and safety standards by having students review kitchen safety rules, such as not using a stove without a parent, and hygiene basics including washing hands and not eating while cooking. Consider good rules of food preparation like clean surfaces and using hot water to wash dishes. Kids like to eat dough and lick fingers while cooking. Talk about how this affects community health, especially when working as a whole class.The Munchie Munch has some ingredients in common with trail mix. Have students think of how to make a healthier Munch by changing ingredients to higher protein or lower sugar or calorie options.

    Tie this all together with service or fundraising. Creating gifts for others and sharing your creations is not only a hallmark of the holidays, but also a great way to foster community building. Encourage students to think about how they might share their treats with other faculty or, if your school permits it, students. Fundraising is another option. Our math lab asked for baking supplies to be donated by teachers and students. After creating treats, the math team sold them for fifty cents each throughout the week. Students and teachers could come by before school and make purchases while the math club figured out their total profits, using them to purchase team shirts.

    Quick and easy projects that can suit both my home and school life this time of year, while keeping the holiday spirit alive, are my go-tos for staying happy and healthy throughout the season. Take a break, make some Munch, and celebrate with students this season.

    It’s the most wonderful (hectic, stressful, time-crunched) time of the year. I love making and gifting with my class and my own sons, but there are days when I find my patience, pocketbook, and time all running a tad too short. Enter our favorite Munchie Munch recipe. It’s quick, easy, and can even be made in a classroom on a budget to serve up to 50 friends or family members. Throw in some easy math tie-ins and you’ve got a tasty holiday treat in more ways than one.

    The Ingredients

    This is how I construct my Munchie Munch, but the possibilities are endless. Omit the nuts and look for gluten-free cereals if allergies are a concern. If you feel like emptying your cupboards of snack leftovers or bits of odd candy pieces, toss them on in. Even colored sugar will work. For a different look, use dark chocolate bark or omit the chocolate all together for something less sugary. Change up the holiday sprinkles and use colors reflecting different holidays, such as blue and white for Hanukkah if you want to get away from the traditional red and green of Christmas. No need to be brand-specific; store and discount brands will yield just as tasty of a final product.

    • 1 box Wheat Chex cereal
    • 1 box Rice Chex cereal
    • 1 box oat circle cereal
    • 1 large bag pretzel sticks (Nibs, peanut-butter filled, or any preferred type will work.)
    • 2 large bags of M&Ms (I like the holiday-colored ones for some festive flair.)
    • 2 bags of dried cranberries
    • 2 blocks (12 squares each) almond bark
    • Holiday sprinkles, if desired
    • Any nuts, if desired
    • Parchment or wax paper
    • Small sandwich bags or clear treat bags

    The Recipe

    This recipe can be made at home, but works well on large cafeteria or classroom tables. Because there is some cooling time, consider starting before lunch or recess to allow time for the chocolate to harden.

    Cover your workspace with parchment or wax paper. If you’re in a pinch, aluminum foil with cooking spray coating will work. Pour the cereals, pretzels, nuts, and cranberries evenly over the surface. You, or students, can mix the ingredients by hand and spread them into an even single layer. Heat the almond bark in a glass dish in the microwave according to the package directions. Once melted, pour over the cereal mix. Let cool for a few seconds and then mix with a spoon. Students have real fun omitting the spoon and “stirring” by (absolutely clean) hand. Smooth back into a more even layer and sprinkle with M&Ms and holiday sprinkles. Let cool until stiff, about 20 minutes. Gently lift and separate chunks into 1-2 cups and place in plastic or treat bags. The ingredients above will yield about 50 sandwich bags.


    The Learning Connections

    Measurement is a key concept starting in early math. Kindergarten students can count finished bags, ingredients, or cups as you work to make the Munch together. If you mix Munch ahead of time, challenge kindergarteners to sort and classify the ingredients.

    Create a simple bar graph for first graders and have them fill in with how many cups of each ingredient. Have them tally which ingredient is the largest amount by how many cups.

    Second and third grade use customary measurements and can measure the ingredients and finished product in cups or weigh bags with ounces.

    Third grade can stretch their estimation skills by figuring out how many bags will be filled and rounding their total bags when finished.

    By fourth and fifth grade, students can use fractions of the whole or decimals notation to determine how much Munch is made of each ingredient.

    Sixth grade students can figure out the percentage of each ingredient contained in the whole or each bag.

    Many grades can work to determine the total cost of the ingredients and older grades can determine the cost per bag or the cost per ounce.

    Cover health and safety standards by having students review kitchen safety rules, such as not using a stove without a parent, and hygiene basics including washing hands and not eating while cooking. Consider good rules of food preparation like clean surfaces and using hot water to wash dishes. Kids like to eat dough and lick fingers while cooking. Talk about how this affects community health, especially when working as a whole class.The Munchie Munch has some ingredients in common with trail mix. Have students think of how to make a healthier Munch by changing ingredients to higher protein or lower sugar or calorie options.

    Tie this all together with service or fundraising. Creating gifts for others and sharing your creations is not only a hallmark of the holidays, but also a great way to foster community building. Encourage students to think about how they might share their treats with other faculty or, if your school permits it, students. Fundraising is another option. Our math lab asked for baking supplies to be donated by teachers and students. After creating treats, the math team sold them for fifty cents each throughout the week. Students and teachers could come by before school and make purchases while the math club figured out their total profits, using them to purchase team shirts.

    Quick and easy projects that can suit both my home and school life this time of year, while keeping the holiday spirit alive, are my go-tos for staying happy and healthy throughout the season. Take a break, make some Munch, and celebrate with students this season.

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