Applied Math


blog post
Students are sometimes permitted to bring goodies to class for special occasions.
One occasion in my class had nothing to do with special events.


I taught an applied math class to sophomores after I moved to the high school. The applied math principle was to go from real life situations to theory instead of the other way around.

I brought in commercial bakery goods for a lesson in calories. Students were tasked with using a scale, a recipe, and a table of ingredient calories per weight unit. When they showed me their calculations for a good estimate, they were allowed to eat the treat.

Calculating the calorie content of home baked treats was included in the series of lessons. I gave the class a recipe for brownies, provided some calorie references for raw ingredients and assigned them to do the calculations as a homework assignment. They also had an option to use a favorite family recipe but had to supply it with their homework.

One girl who had been in my all girl English class at the junior high school asked if she could make the brownies and bring them in with her completed homework. Another said one batch wouldn’t be enough for the class and said she’d bring in a batch too.

I agreed.

Eating wasn’t generally allowed in classrooms, but like I said, I was teaching applied math which was based on activities followed by theory. The girls told me that they actually did the baking together and just made a double batch. Since it was homework, I allowed the class to finish the product of the project while I introduced a new lesson. I set my ‘teacher size’ brownie to the side planning to eat it with lunch.

The vice principal came to me at the end of third period class and asked what the kids had to eat in my math lesson. He knew about what I’d been doing with the bakery goods, but not the brownie assignment. Then he said some of the students my class were reported as being goofy or sleepy after class and one was sick.

I told him about the brownies. Then he said one of the boys told him the same thing and added they had cannabis baked in but wouldn’t say who brought them. I gave him mine for analysis and the two girls spent two weeks suspended.


Ironically, the one who got sick was one of the bakers. Applied math provided an unexpected lesson for her.
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