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Math on the Menu - Book Review

Jaine Kopp, the author, of Math on the Menu: Real Life Problems Solving for Grades 3 – 5 (teacher’s guide) enlisted a lot of help to write this well thought out and researched tool for teachers. Math on the Menu was published by LHS GEMS which stands for Lawrence Hall of Science and Great Explorations in Math and Science program. LHS is at the University of California at Berkeley Public Science Center. They have a developed a series of activities around math and food. Each activity was reviewed and tested in various classrooms across the United States. The schools participated in the review process by using the activities in classrooms and school wide presentations and by giving comments and recommendations.

Math on the Menu evolves around helping an imaginary family establish a restaurant that serves tostadas. The first activity begins with students predicting how many choices of three toppings out of 5 a customer can choose. This helps students with learning combinations. Some other activities involve
*Computing the cost of tostada toppings and to recommend a price
*Given an allowance…students determine cost of combinations and what they can afford to purchase.
*Decide on a floor plan using certain specifications

The lesson series ends with an optional Tostada party. Suggestions are given for the class party and a class party with the student’s families.

Math on the Menu provides very detailed and thorough syllabus, a sample letter to families, and other resources for teachers and students. For instance, the “Going Further” section within the Resource section shares insight on how to use a few books and videos to extend the lessons. I especially like the fact reproducible pages for each activity are included in the book with a list of easy to find supplies.

Since this book was published in 2000 as a project by LHS GEMS, check your local library to borrow the book. Also, this may make the book harder to find for purchase. Your best bet is to visit LHS GEMS website below. If you must have this book or a similar one about math and cooking in your collection, you are just a click away. Personally, I do.

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