Recipe Card Approach to Math

Does your student perform well on daily math homework yet struggle with mixed review or cumulative exams? If so, a recipe card approach to math could be the perfect tool to help!

At the most basic level, a math recipe card includes the steps to solve a particular problem type and example problems. The student can use a composition notebook, loose leaf paper, or notecards with a ring. If digital is preferred, Google Drive or OneNote are great options to consider.

What’s included?

  • Ingredients: what you need to know to solve the problem (i.e. formula, vocabulary, graph paper, calculator, etc.)

  • Directions: step-by-step process written in the student’s own words

  • Examples: practice problems with all work shown so the student can refer back

Why recipe cards?

Recipe cards teach students the ability to identify problem types and determine the approach, formula or recipe to solve. The student is encouraged to write the steps to solve in their own words, which helps the student internalize the process and differentiate between similar problem types.

Most importantly, this approach provides the student with a toolbox and becomes a guide for independent work. Over time, it will help students perform better on mixed review assignments and cumulative exams.

Best practices

  1. First, when possible, the student should handwrite the cards to support memorization of vocabulary and process.

  2. Use lined or graph paper to stay organized.

  3. Use language you understand. Don’t just copy the notes from the teacher or a textbook.

  4. Use the recipe cards for support during independent work, and do additional practice problems for active rehearsal during exam preparation.

Check out our video for a step-by-step look at the recipe card approach to math!

~Courtney Wittner, M.Ed

Director, Hayutin & Associates

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