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.
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.
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 skillsStudents 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.
7. Project Based Learning - Open a RestaurantI 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.
- Open a Bakery
- Open an Ice Cream Shop
- Open a Pizzeria
- Open a Food Truck
Take a look at all 7 of my restaurant menu math activities. You can purchase these units individually or as a bundle.