Pizza problem solving

18th February 2005 at 00:00
I always dreaded doing problem-solving with my Year 1 class because children never seemed to quite grasp the concept. I decided to give my lesson a real life context with the children making their own pizzas.

The mathematical problems started immediately: one loaf of thick sliced bread - will there be enough slices for everyone? We have 10 tomatoes - shall we cut them into halves or quarters? Grating the cheese will make it go further but what about the mushrooms - how many slices should we cut them into? Twenty minutes left - have we got time to cook them before lunch?

More fun begins with "Who will help me eat my pizza?", which sounds like a familiar traditional story. I send permission forms home to check that everyone can eat pizza.

This problem-solving exercise can be differentiated, with some children counting the items that you use while others use addition and subtraction methods. Oral reasoning comes easily because the children are motivated by the prospect of eating their pizza and many are used to having pizza at home.

Making the pizzas on pieces of bread means they only take five minutes to cook.

Becky Taylor

Class teacher, Hamworthy First School and Nursery, Poole

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