To end the last school year, I did a novel study of Holes by Louis Sachar.  My students fell in love with this book, and every day they were on pins and needles waiting for us to continue reading it.

The entire reading experience was such a great time that I knew we had to do something equally awesome to culminate the novel.  At the same time, I am always eager for the opportunity to tie together multiple subjects.

Enter homemade Sploosh.

If you haven’t read the book, Sploosh is a concoction invented by one of the characters which helps him survive in the desert.  Since we were studying fractions in math – and when I think of real world application of fractions I think of recipes – I wanted to find a recipe that would tie in to our novel.

Step One: Find a Recipe

First, I gathered this recipe from Scholastic.

Not reading Holes?  You’d be surprised at how many blogs out there carry recipes based on books.  Try searching for the title of the novel you are reading + recipes!

Step Two:  Engage the Students

After I had the recipe, I prepped for the lesson by writing in big letters on the board:

How do I make enough Sploosh for every 3rd grader?

When my students walked in they were immediately intrigued and started shouting things out:

“Are we making Sploosh?”

“You make a ton!”


I stopped them after that last kid.

Step 3:  Encourage Inquiry

“You say I make a ‘ton,’ but you know, a ‘ton’ is really a whole lot.  If I didn’t want to have any wasted, how would I figure out EXACTLY how much I would need?”

Now that the kids realized I was serious, they quieted down and thought about it.

“Well like, do you have a recipe?”

“I sure do.”  I passed out small copies of the recipe, and the kids looked them over.

We spent the rest of that period making a plan.  This is where it became a huge inquiry lesson:

Student: “We need enough ingredients for everyone!”

Me:  “How do we know how much is enough?”

Student:  “We figure it out.”

Me:  “How?”

Student:  “Well, I guess we need to know how many 3rd graders are in our school.”

I wrote each of our steps up on the board first, without having the kids solve them.  I let this be student-driven, and I was really impressed with their ability to divide the task into a process.

Step 4:  Apply Math Skills

The next day, we came in and set to work answering the questions we identified as essential to carrying out our task.  We used division to determine the number of batches we needed, and then practiced multiplying fractions.

Differentiation Tip: I had all of my students determine the correct amount of every ingredient, but you could differentiate by assigning ingredients based on difficulty to different students.

Step 5:  Display Work

Students worked in groups to create posters showing their updated recipes.


This time, I had the students copy the directions from the recipe, but looking back I think it’d be a great learning experience and good practice in sequence writing to have them write their own directions after making it!

Step 6:  Bring in Ingredients and Get Cooking!

Students signed up for different ingredients, and when they brought them in we all worked together to measure it and create it.  It was such a fun day!


My Thoughts:

This entire process took our class a little over one week.  Overall, it was a FANTASTIC experience:

  • The kids were engaged the entire time
  • Students used math during reading
  • Students applied skills to an authentic experience
  • Students felt accountable for the entire process
  • It sparked natural conversations about the ingredients, and what would have been available during the setting of the novel

I’ve already started searching the internet for more recipes for some of the my other novels – maybe Turkish Delight (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) will be next!