One of the most common “real world math” applications is in cooking and baking. Recipes require a lot of mathematical knowledge, especially if you’re planning to alter the recipe in any way for more or fewer people. The best math tutor knows that whether you’re practicing high school math, middle school math, or elementary school math, baking is great practice!
That’s why this week’s word problem challenge is a fun recipe-style puzzle you be presented with in any kitchen. It brings together math concepts such as proportion, fractions, division and multiplication as well as a tasty pastry treat! Check out the question below, take your time working it out, and look below when you're ready for the solution!
Question: Olive has a recipe for peach cobbler that calls for 15 peaches and yields 10 servings. Her baking dish holds 14 servings. How many peaches should Olive buy to scale the recipe for her baking dish?
Solution: One way to solve this is to set up a proportion. There are 15 peaches per 10 servings, and we want to know how many go into 14 servings:
15/10 = x/14
Notice that we can reduce 15/10 to 3/2. There are 3 peaches in 2 servings of cobbler:
3/2 = x/14
Since 2 servings goes into 14 servings 7 times, we need 3 peaches, 7 times to have enough to scale up the recipe, which means Olive needs 21 peaches.