The Fun of Learning

0715learningfunJust because the school year is done it doesn’t mean that kids stop learning. Sometimes creativity is needed to sneak learning into summer vacation fun. One of our Camp Haverim families shared what happened when they mixed math with ice cream:

“Each summer, we ponder how to connect learning with 10 weeks of summer fun. Last summer we came up with an idea: find Orange County’s very best ice cream! What could be more fun than that? We’d enjoy delicious treats, incorporate math, and involve family and friends in the process. What I didn’t count on was the many memories our ice cream dates would generate for my son.

Researching online, we selected eight ice cream shops in Orange County to test. We were going with home-bred shops, no chains. As the summer went along and news of our adventures grew, more recommendations came in and we ended up judging 12 stores. At each, we invited friends and family to “guest judge” with us; our smallest party was four and our largest 15. Each time we ordered a scoop each of vanilla and chocolate to share this served as our control group. Then each judge ordered a special flavor for another taste test.

On a scale of 1-5, our judges rated the ice cream shops in five categories: taste of the ice cream, menu choices, special flavors, location and price. Taste was weighted 2x in the equations.

After sharing and enjoying the treats, the math exercise began as my son collected the ratings at each place. Analyzing all the data, he came up with averages for each category and then a shop average.

Han’s Ice Cream in Santa Ana, just across from South Coast Plaza, won our contest for OC’s best ice cream. However, my son would like to share that Mama’s on 39 in Huntington Beach’s malted chocolate was so good it shot Mama’s numbers up to a close second.

It was an adventure, with the real winner being our family. Now we need to figure out what this summer’s learning experience will be!”

Audra Martin has worked with children in the JCC field for over 17 years, she is the Director of Children and Camp at the Merage JCC. Contact Audra at audram@jccoc.org.

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