Pizza Math Makes for Delicious Learning

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Pizza Math Makes for Delicious Learning

August 1, 2013

Around my house, “Can we order pizza?” is a common request. If your kids enjoy pizza, they’ll devour pizza math. When it comes to building math vocabulary and an understanding of fractions, this activity is quite filling.

Materials  or  “Ingredients”
• Paper Plate
• Crayons/Markers
• Scissors (optional)
• Construction Paper (optional)
• Large round plate to trace (optional)

1. Before your pizza gets messy, take a look at the plate. Ask your younger kids to identify the shape of the plate (circle). Ask big kids if they know the term for a line that runs from one edge of the circle to the other that includes the midpoint (diameter). Have  fun with your paper pizza dough–try to spin it and toss it and catch it like a real pizza chef!

2. Ask the older kids if they can come up with a way to find the plate’s midpoint. (One possible way: If you fold the plate in half, you will create a diameter. The place where two diameters meet is the midpoint.)

With all kids: Fold the plate in half and then fold the half circle in half again and then fold the circle in half again. Unfold and flatten the plate again. You will need these folds later to mark the slices.

3. Now, prepare your pizza. Color the outer rim of the plate a pizza crust brown. Then, color in some red sauce near the crust and color the rest of the plate a cheesy light yellow.

4. Using a red or black marker or crayon, “cut” your pizza pie by drawing lines along the fold marks. Ask little kids to count the number of slices in your pizza (there should be eight). Have little kids label each slice 1 through 8.

5. Add “toppings” with construction paper or markers. Fun toppings might include tomato pepperoni, green pepper slices or spinach, black olives, and grey or brown mushrooms.

Ask little ones to count how many different toppings they add and the total number of toppings (we added 24), add one per slice, or add the number of toppings to match up with the numbered slice. For example, place one topping on slice 1, two toppings on slice 2, and so on.

Big kids can figure out how many toppings there are by multiplying (we added 3 toppings per slice for a total of 24) or how to divide the toppings evenly (if you have 24 toppings, each slice gets 3 toppings).6. (Optional) If you’re working with big kids, allow them to actually cut the pizza into fractions using scissors. First, cut your pizza in half. Then, cut one half into quarters. Finally, cut one of the quarters into eighths. Have your kids label these fractions on the pizza. Now it’s time for a crucial math question: ask our kids if they would prefer 2/8 of the pizza or 1/4 of the pizza (My kids said, “Both are two slices! It is the same thing!”).

7. (Optional) Prepare your plate. Take a large piece of construction paper and trace a larger plate in the center. Color in your table cloth around the plate. You could even use a ruler to measure off a red checked pattern. Glue your pizza onto the plate. Add a napkin and some flatware if you’re feeling fancy.

If your kids had fun making paper plate pizzas, try making your own edible pizzas at home with the same mathematical challenges. Or, next time you order pizza, let your kids do the math and add their own toppings.

Pizza math is a great way to make math yummy. On your next trip to the pizza parlor, here’s a fun Bedtime Math pizza problem to solve while you wait for your meal.


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About the Author

Candace Lindemann

Candace Lindemann, of Naturally Educational, is a nationally recognized and quoted educational expert and published children’s writer who holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education,

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