Here’s a great real life way to reinforce math concepts – it’s restaurant day for math students in one fourth grade classroom!

When children returned to Lee Ann Canzano’s fourth-grade classroom after lunch they wondered what happened to their room.  The desks were covered with fabric tablecloths, and each desk sported a “Welcome to Applebees” sign.

Restaurant Day for Math Students

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Restaurant day in this class at Golden Hill Elementary school brought the children a life lesson in math.  How much money would they need for a meal at Applebee’s, and how much was the tip were just two of the calculations they performed with this fun exercise. The students have been learning about adding and subtracting with decimals.  Money is an important way to illustrate decimals and real life skills.

So Canzano figured that the children could “go out to eat” while still being in the classroom, bringing the experience to them right there with a fun activity.

When the local Applebee’s restaurant heard about the math exercise, they donated a free kid’s meal coupon to every child in the class, which the teacher awarded at the end.

Each group of four to five children was given a budget of $100 to eat at Applebee’s. The groups worked to determine the best way to stay on their budget and still have enough money to leave a tip.

Restaurant Day for Math Students

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To make things easier, Canzano projected a chart on a whiteboard showing meal prices in $10 increments and what a 20 percent tip would be for each amount. “For every $10 you spend, look at the digit and double it to calculate a 20 percent tip,” Canzano said, explaining that for a $30 food bill, doubling the 3 results in a $6 tip.

“Twelve dollars,” Michelle Duston exclaimed after looking at the chart.

“And if you have a $100 bill for a party of five?” Canzano asked.

“Twenty dollars,” Dimitri Crispin responded.

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