|Author: Meredith Hooper
Illustrator: Alison Bartlett
Summary: While baking cookies, a young boy's grandmother explains how nature provides the different ingredients they need. Includes recipe.
Level 2 Literature Based Unit Study Written By Julie S.
Note: This book was previously published as A Cow, A Bee, A Cookie, and Me
Oral Language Development
Have child dictate how to make cookies. Do at the beginning and end of unit for comparison. (You may want to write this down-- sometimes kid recipes end up being quite humorous! If you are making a lapbook, you may want to write the recipes on recipe cards and include them in your book.)
Use of question mark
Point out the question marks and let your child know that the symbol shows a reader when a sentence is in question form.
Use of quotation marks
Point out the quotation marks and let your child know that the symbol shows the reader when a sentence is an exclamation. Show her how to read exclamatory sentences with emphasis and excitement!
Measurement in Cooking & Reading fractions
Make cookies! The recipe for honey cookies is in the back of the book. It uses whole units and also fractions. The recipe makes a small batch of cookies, so older children can work on doubling it, including the fractions!
Note: This recipe calls for self rising flour. You can substitute all purpose flour by adding 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking powder to the flour.
Science & Social Studies-
Horticulture and Map Skills
An internet search will turn up many sites describing how cinnamon is grown and harvested. Doing a google search for cinnamon tree images may be helpful. Basically, the bark is peeled back from the tree and allowed to dry for several days before being removed. After being separated from the rough outer bark, several pieces of the inner bark are rolled together into quills, also called cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon is mentioned in the Old Testament and has been in use for medical and culinary purposes ever since. Quick cinnamon recipes are cinnamon toast and simmering milk with cinnamon sticks. Find some of the countries where cinnamon is grown: Sumatra (Indonesia), Tanzania, China, Vietnam, Sri Lanka
shows photos of cinnamon quills and leaves
If you are creating a lapbook, print some of the pictures from the website mentioned above and make a minit-book about how cinnamon is grown and harvested.
Wikipedia.com gives an excellent overview of the cultivation and processing of sugarcane, a large tropical grass. It also includes the historical importance of sugar cane in trade. Doing a google search for sugarcane images may be helpful. Find some of the countries where sugar cane is grown: Brazil, India and China are the largest producers. Hawaii, Fiji, and Florida also produce sugar cane. It is worth mentioning to your child that much of the sugar sold in the US is derived from beets, not sugarcane.
Science & Gross Motor - Make butter
Although not necessary, it may be helpful to let the whipping cream sit at room temperature for an hour or so before beginning. Pour
whipping cream into a clean jar with a tight fitting lid, filling it no more than halfway. Placing 1 or 2 clean marbles in the jar can help
speed up the mixing. Shake the jar until butter has formed and the marbles seem unable to move, this took us 8 minutes. Place the
runny butter in a bowl, pouring off any buttermilk. Using the back of a spoon, push the butter up against the sides of the bowl repeatedly.
Buttermilk will ooze out. Strain off the buttermilk as necessary, and keep pressing the butter until it stops releasing buttermilk. Stir in
salt if desired. The butter will be very soft and can be shaped before chilling. The buttermilk can be used in baking. Butter can also be
made in a food processor. The internet has many sites with detailed instructions.
Safety & Science- Oven Safety & Insulation
Gramma wears oven mitts while using the oven. Ben does not use the oven. Here is an easy and safe activity for children to learn about
the insulating effect of pot holders.
Use dishes that are too hot to touch comfortably, but not hot enough to burn. Dishes that have been washed in the dishwasher and dried
on the heat dry cycle will work. Let children compare the experience of trying to handle the dishes with their bare hands and with a pot
holder. They will probably discover that the pot holder protects their hand from the heat but makes it awkward to handle dishes, especially
This recipe was handed down by the authorís great grandmother. Do you have any recipes handed down by relatives? You may want
to get out grandma's recipe for ________________ and share it/bake it with your child. This would be another good recipe card to
include in your lapbook.
Fine Motor & Cooking
Crack and separate eggs
Since bits of shell may end up in the bowl, you might want to wash the eggs with soap and water to minimize potential exposure to
bacteria. After letting children crack many eggs, and practice separating them, make scrambled eggs.
The illustrations in this book are bright and fairly simplistic. Children might enjoy trying to duplicate the look with oil pastels. The first two
page spread in the story shows a very simple painting of fruit in a bowl. Place a bowl of fruit on the table and see if your kids can draw it.
If it is too difficult to use a three dimensional model, let them copy the picture in the book.
This book has many more concepts to explore, if desired. We have covered many of these in other books, so I chose not to focus on them.
* Bees and honey production
* Chickens and egg production
* Diet of bees, cows and chickens
* Grinding wheat into flour
* Concept of a dozen, half a dozen and bakerís dozen
* Count objects in the pictures, bees, cookies, etc. The pan of cookies can also be counted by 3's (3,6,9)