How to Improve Math Skills With Real-World Activities

How many times have you heard your students say, "When will I ever need to use this?" Well, give your students an opportunity to work real-world math problems. If you have read any of my blog posts on project based learning, I love engaging students in real-life situations. And I truly believe you can improve math skills with real-world activities.

Teaching math using restaurant menus is a fun way for your students to add or subtract decimals (or money) and work multi-step word problems. Plus, when they go to restaurants with their parents, students can help figure out the bill!

Help your students improve math skills with real-world activities. Let students calculate orders, estimate, use a spreadsheet, and more. They'll learn so much! Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students will fall in love with this project based learning unit. It's a great way for them to get real life skills in a fun, engaging manner. Click through now to see all the details. {first, second, third, fourth graders, PBL, real world, real-life, creative writing, fractions}




Here are a few tips in teaching math with menus:


1. Collect menus from different restaurants.

Students may choose bring menus from their favorite restaurants. Now that so many restaurants are promoting online, you can download menus from their websites. Your students will love this real-world activity with menus! (I always grab extra menus when I pick up take-out orders.)

2. Choose a menu to write word problems.

You can design your own menu or select a menu from a restaurant in your area. Write word problems for your students using items from the menu. If you include these activities at a math center, I suggest that you have a restaurant theme at the center. Students can add, subtract, compare prices, and work multi-step problems. Your more advanced or older students can calculate tax and tip on the bills.

Help your students improve math skills with real-world activities. Let students calculate orders, estimate, use a spreadsheet, and more. They'll learn so much! Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students will fall in love with this project based learning unit. It's a great way for them to get real life skills in a fun, engaging manner. Click through now to see all the details. {first, second, third, fourth graders, PBL, real world, real-life, creative writing, fractions}

3. Students can take orders from classmates.

For dramatic play, your students can take orders from their classmates and calculate their bills. You can purchase these receipt books from Office Depot or use the forms I've provided in my units. Teachers, you can have play money out so students can actually count money out as they pay their bill. And, students can give change from a larger bill.

4. Create task cards with items from a restaurant.

You can either cut out food items from magazines or use clipart. I used clipart and added prices to the food items. Students can turn the cards over and select two items. Then write a word problem using these items.

Help your students improve math skills with real-world activities. Let students calculate orders, estimate, use a spreadsheet, and more. They'll learn so much! Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students will fall in love with this project based learning unit. It's a great way for them to get real life skills in a fun, engaging manner. Click through now to see all the details. {first, second, third, fourth graders, PBL, real world, real-life, creative writing, fractions}

5. Use spreadsheets to calculate orders.

Create a spreadsheet template so students can take orders and use the spreadsheet to calculate the orders. You can even add tax and tip in the calculation. Advanced students can add the formulas for the calculation. I include this spreadsheet activity in my project based units that involve money and purchasing.

6. Learning life skills

Students can learn social and life skills in giving or taking orders at a restaurant and reading a menu. They can even estimate their total and decide what they can order according to how much money they have. You can even take this a step further but teaching students how to set a table.

Help your students improve math skills with real-world activities. Let students calculate orders, estimate, use a spreadsheet, and more. They'll learn so much! Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students will fall in love with this project based learning unit. It's a great way for them to get real life skills in a fun, engaging manner. Click through now to see all the details. {first, second, third, fourth graders, PBL, real world, real-life, creative writing, fractions}

7. Project Based Learning - Open a Restaurant

I have several project based units that focus on opening a restaurant. All of these unit include the process opening a business, calculating costs, simulations in taking orders. Students will even interview owners of restaurants.

 These include:




Help your students improve math skills with real-world activities. Let students calculate orders, estimate, use a spreadsheet, and more. They'll learn so much! Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students will fall in love with this project based learning unit. It's a great way for them to get real life skills in a fun, engaging manner. Click through now to see all the details. {first, second, third, fourth graders, PBL, real world, real-life, creative writing, fractions}

Take a look at all 7 of my restaurant menu math activities. You can purchase these units individually or as a bundle. They're a great way to improve math skills with real-world activities.

Help your students improve math skills with real-world activities. Let students calculate orders, estimate, use a spreadsheet, and more. They'll learn so much! Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students will fall in love with this project based learning unit. It's a great way for them to get real life skills in a fun, engaging manner. Click through now to see all the details. {first, second, third, fourth graders, PBL, real world, real-life, creative writing, fractions}


Help your students improve math skills with real-world activities. Let students calculate orders, estimate, use a spreadsheet, and more. They'll learn so much! Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students will fall in love with this project based learning unit. It's a great way for them to get real life skills in a fun, engaging manner. Click through now to see all the details. {first, second, third, fourth graders, PBL, real world, real-life, creative writing, fractions}

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