Boy, have we been busy working on word problems involving money?! I wanted to give my kiddos a more real world approach to adding and subtracting money amounts. That's how Menu Math was created!
If you know me, you know I love doing mini transformations in my classroom. My students now know that whenever our tables are covered and I have props out, they are in for an exciting lesson! Menu Math was no different. My students walked in to our classroom after Specials to find each table had been transformed into a different restaurant. I used butcher paper to cover their tables and various props I either already had or that I found at The Dollar Tree to set the stage.
How cute are these steak coasters that I snagged at The Dollar Tree?! I also put fake flowers in a vase on the table to make it "fancy".
For the lesson, I broke my class up into four groups. I had them take turns choosing a waiter/waitress for each restaurant they visited. The "customers", the remaining kids in the group, each ordered one item off the restaurant menu. The waiter/waitress wrote down how much each item cost and went to the "kitchen" to total up the bill. This also helped us review adding up to four numbers.
While the waiter/waitress was in the kitchen, the customers had to total up their bill too. Then, they checked their total against the server's total. If their totals didn't match up, they had to figure out why.
This lesson was so much fun! The conversations I heard as I walked around were priceless! One of my kiddos said, "Man, I wish I would've ordered the lobster tail instead". Ha! Talk about real world applications!
If you want to try out this activity in your classroom, you can find my unit here. I also included task cards for each restaurant menu to help my kiddos work on those money word problem skills.