Restaurant Math is an activity I do to help students make real-world connections in math over the course of the year. This may take about three days.
Step 1: In writing class, students develop menus for restaurants they design. They fold one 8 1/2 x 11" piece of paper in half to develop their menus. They come up with interesting names for their restaurant and then look at menus from existing restaurants to help them come up with unique dishes with rich descriptions. Below is a list of .pdf menus you can use with your students. (Some of these menus do not include prices, so remember to tell your students that their menu MUST have prices. They NEED to come up with prices for their meals, desserts, appetizers, and beverages to make the math parts of the assignment possible.)
Step 2: Once students have developed their menus, put some on the Elmo. Ask the class how much totals would come to if a family purchased ___, ___, ___, and ___ from _________'s menu. (Do not worry about tips if this is done in the first half of the school year in grades 3 or 4. For grades 5 or higher, you know your students best, and the decision is your discretion.) Do this with about five students' menus and see how accurate your students are in totaling the "bills".
Step 3: The last part is AWESOME and something new I am trying this year! I hope it is successful, and I plan on showing you when the time comes. It seems like a really neat idea to take 1/3 of the class (for me, 7 or 8 students) and sitting them down in a straight line to create a "food court". The other 14-15 students in my class will then "order" from their menus, and the restaurant owners will keep running totals. The 14 or 15 rotating students will have to place two orders each for themselves only. This is something I may do for three days for about 15 minutes each to rotate all the students through being consumers and restaurant owners.
We will then speak about which students' restaurants fared the best and maybe the reasons why they fared the best.
Tell me what you think! I am excited about sharing these ideas with you and really want to read your thoughts!