Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pizza Math!

Now that Seuss-Mania is over, we are back to the grind because there is so much left to accomplish in 3rd grade.   We are just finishing up with Multiplication Boot Camp, and I'm so delighted to say that ALL 23 of my students will be graduating from Boot Camp this week.  Of course, we have to celebrate in grand style, and will be having a pizza party.  However, I'm not going to let my little mathematicians off that easy!  If they're getting a pizza party, they're going to have to work for this week, we've had some major pizza problems!

On Monday, I presented them with the following problem:  "On Friday, we will be having a Pizza Party, but because I am so busy, I have no time to take care of the details.  I need your help.  Determine the type of pizza I should order based on what everyone likes.  Figure out how many pieces of pizza each person will get, then plan out the types of pizza I will need to order to keep everyone happy.  Use the menu from "Jason's Pizzareia" to calculate my total cost.  Be ready to present your findings in a clear and organized way.  Attend to precision because our party depends on it!"

Students collected data and we recorded the results.  Who would have known that some 3rd graders would prefer pineapple and ham, or even bell pepper pizza, over pepperoni?!  

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They worked in their groups to plan out the sizes and types of pizzas we would need.  Students had to use different combinations of sizes and fractions of a pizza to make sure we would have pizza for everyone.  Then they calculated the price using the menu provided.  This took some serious perseverance and precision, but by the end of our math block, each group had a poster to present.  They were shocked at how much pizza would cost!

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By Tuesday, my sweet kiddos were gravely concerned about my bank account, and of course, their pizza party.  Some students had even gone home and asked their parents if they could bring in money to help cover the cost.  Oops!  I was glad they were so concerned, because our pizza problems were continuing!  Our math on the second day involved the students finding me a better deal on the same sizes and quantities of pizza.  They used our fancy-schmancy Google Chromebooks to research local pizza places and their prices.  Students compared prices, found deals and coupons, and recalculated our total.  They were even kind enough to figure out my savings!  $40-60 dollar savings...these kids are good! Spirits were definitely on the rise...but we still weren't done.

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By Wednesday, my kids were acting like they were on an episode of "Extreme Couponing".  "Mrs. Ward!!  Domino's has a Monday-Thursday pizza special, we could move our celebration!" and "Five dollar Hot 'N Ready's!".  They'd gone off the deep end, which was exactly where I needed them to be.  

We began our math time by revisiting Mathematical Practice 1, which says that mathematically proficient students will "make sense of problems and persevere in solving them".  All year, we have stressed that making sense of problems and persevering often involves revising the plan and creating a new course of action.  Today, we would do just that.  Students went back to the drawing board to find me my rock-bottom deal.  Most groups scrapped all the special toppings and went with our top two choices.  

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This group got the total down to $27!  Impressive!

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$30 for six pizzas is a pretty good deal!
We wrapped up our Pizza Math by talking about all the ways in which they used math to solve a real life problem- data collection, fractions, addition, subtraction, multiplication, multi-step problems...the list goes on.  Needless to say, these kiddos have earned their pizza party!  Just another awesome week in 3rd grade.

Happy (almost) Friday!


  1. I find this too cute, Jana! Your method of making the kids acquire practical skills while still sticking with your lesson plan is genius! It's amazing and adorable at the same time as to how they all worked together to gain their well-deserved pizza party. Two thumbs up! Carlene Boley

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