Project Based Learning Example: Menu Math

Our latest project based learning example is menu math! This is a great project for any age and I am working on it with both my 8-year-old and my 5-year-old, but varying the workload based on their skill set. It incorporates a lot of fun elements like LEGO, art, math, writing and critical thinking.

Below is our step-by-step progression through the project along with a project based learning menu math free printable pack that you can download at the bottom of the page for your own use.

Project Based Learning Example Step 1: Build the restaurant out of LEGO

The first step is this project based learning example: menu math is building the actual restaurant. We decided to use LEGO to build the restaurant, which was perfect because we could use the dimensions and apply them to the math elements of the program. It’s important to keep track of the height and width along with any additional features. For example, my son wants to include an indoor play area in his restaurant, so we are going to need to configure the restaurant to make sure there is room for the play area, dining and the kitchen areas.

Understanding dimensions and usability

Once we understand the dimensions via LEGO pegs, we transfer that over to a sheet of graph paper. We create a diagram of the restaurant and discuss things like maximum occupancy, seating arrangements, etc.

For our restaurant, we decided the maximum occupancy will be 46 people. We then broke that out into various table sizes to determine how many of each table size we will need in our restaurant. This was a great opportunity for multiplication and we can even create a pie chart to show the amount of each table size our restaurant will feature.

Once we knew how many tables we would want, we determined the perimeter and area of each table and the perimeter and area of the entire restaurant. We diagramed each of these and cut them out so that we could move them around our restaurant diagram to determine the optimal seating arrangement.

Determining the menu and pricing

Once our layout is determined and we finish the 3D model of the restaurant, we move on to the menu and pricing. First we choose a theme and some menu items. Next, we determine pricing. To incorporate multiplication, we use menu items that have multiple items. For example. We can say that there are chicken nuggets on the menu. Each order has 6 nuggets. If each nugget costs $0.30, then how much will an order cost?

We are also introducing the concept of retail vs. wholesale cost and profit margin. This is a more complex concept, so we will just touch on this.

For the project based learning example menu MATH portion, we will also be creating multiple orders. We have order forms, so that I can place an order and the kids can figure out how much I owe them. This works great with a cash register and some fake bills.

Marketing and signage

Lastly, we get creative. This is a great way to end the project based learning example: math menu program and an awesome Friday project. Now that we have the restaurant and the menu scoped out, let’s figure out what the restaurant name will be and create some flyer for advertising purposes. Maybe even a tagline.

Project Based Learning Example: Menu Math Objectives

One of the many great things about project based learning programs is that they can be scaled. For my younger son, we discuss the project and do a lot of the work together. For my older son, I see how much he can get done before he needs help. I am always there to answer questions and help progress their ideas to the next step.

Project Based Learning Example: Menu Math also helps children apply their knowledge to real life scenarios. This makes the “work” feel less like busy-work and more like applied knowledge, which it is. It leverages critical thinking skills and promotes the idea of learning to learn and enjoying the act of learning.

Download Free Menu Math Printables


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