Cost Effective Cupcakes

Can you make the most delicious and cost effective cupcakes?

The Assignment

This is the assignment that would be given to the students. Included are the background, instructions, sample recipes, suggested websites and graphic organizers to help them get started.


This rich task covers the Knowledge/Understanding, Thinking/Inquiry and Application categories of the Achievement Chart. Although the task also has a Communication aspect, we feel that it is adequately demonstrated through the calculations portion of the task.

Student Sample Answers

Below are sample answers that we would expect from our students. These are made from the sample recipes given in the assignment in order.

Sample 1
Red Velvet Cupcakes: Flour

Sample 2
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cupcakes: Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips

Preliminary research shows that a cup of chocolate chips weighs 182.4g. The recipe asks for half a cup:
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Sample 3

Black Forest Cupcake: Red Wine Vinegar

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Rationale: The Cost Effective Cupcake

Our rich summative task is geared toward the grade 8 strand Number Sense and Numeration, and covers the following overall expectations:

- Solve problems involving whole numbers, decimal numbers, fractions, and integers, using a variety of computational strategies;

- Solve problems by using proportional reasoning in a variety of meaningful contexts

Our task has been broken down into three distinct sections. These are outlined in the three-part lesson. The minds-on section introduces the task by presenting a relatable and engaging situation; our class is having a party and you have to provide 30 cupcakes, 1 for each member. Students will have to research a recipe of their choosing (starting from scratch), listing all ingredients necessary, and estimating the cost of each. One extremely important factor is that each group can only spend up to $30.00, including taxes on cupcake ingredients. As a class, we will take a trip to a local grocery store to research prices of individual ingredients.

With the information gathered, students can then calculate the unit cost of creating their cupcakes. Their presentation will consist of tables, sample work, visuals, videos and other media approved by the teacher.

We chose to focus of this strand because there are a lot of real-world connections that grade 8 students will come across in their lives. Creating a budget based on limited resources and planning are non-curricular lessons that are quite applicable to real life situations such as grocery shopping, clothing shopping, planning a party, shopping for a cell phone, etc. Students get to plan, contrast and compare a variety of prices in units that are comparable. This particular topic relating to food is one that all students can relate to; it is a comfortable topic.

On an academic level, students practice problem solving skills in a real life situation. They work together with their peers to compare values and quantities to find which ones are most reasonable for the problems that they are solving.

By the end of this task, our students would have gained mathematical skills such as solving problems using whole numbers and decimals, percentages and rates, as well as estimation. Our students would have gained these and some social skills through collaboration on this real world activity.

Lesson Plan: The Cost Effect Cupcake

The Authors

Emefa Quist

Susan Sun

Nicholas Tsangarides