The Pancake Menu – Engaging Math Games

The Pancake Menu can be used anywhere, at home, at school, during babysitting, during playdates, when grandparents come to visit.
It’s ideal. Yet, the best thing about games is that kids develop sense of numbers, critical thinking and other life skills without even realizing it.

Exactly! The Pancake Menu is so versatile. Kids 10 and under can have a lot of fun with it! Most of us like food, and pancakes are a big favorite for many kids, why not see all the real-life math elements that go on with food, playing restaurant, and money?

1. If teachers are to purchase this for their math centers or games for the classroom, which common core standards are covered?

There are SO many it’s amazing! The book, because it has the play money element it adds a lot. Plus, if you talk about trying to make the recipes there’s a ton of math there too! Here are my quick run through of the CCSS that are, and can be taught with the book, the printable play money, and recipes involved with making the pancakes.

This is in no way an exhaustive list. The Pancake Menu: What will you order? will have kids learning so many things if they play with it. They will naturally learn the place value system and understand concepts before they may be ready to show it in equation form. Kids are smart, and enjoy learning through exploration. Here are some ways you can see that the book covers a wide range of math areas…

K.CC.A.1 (using the menu money change (.01 and .10)) Kids might question why they are written like this (which you can explain that is their value compared to a dollar–a dollar is made up of 100 cents and 1 cent is one hundredth of a dollar!)
K.CC.A.2 (again working with menu money change)
K.CC.B.4, K.CC.B.5, K.CC.B.6 (working with pancakes and kids having pancakes as the counting object)
K.G.A.1 (fun to make and see shapes of pancakes as well as talk about their positions of other things around it–the plate and desk are beneath is, what is the right and to the left?)
K.MD.A.1, K.MD.A.2 (see the length and width of a pancake (especially funny shaped ones), compare the different pancakes from the book or ones you make or draw)

1.G.A.1 (Make pancake shapes–just look at the star and dollar pancake–not to mention all the circular ones…)
1.G.A.3 (cutting up pancakes!)
1.MD.A.1 (Do all pancakes turn out the same when you make them? Compare size and length of different pancakes or ones that were supposed to be the same if you make them.)
1.MD.C.4 (Take a survey/poll about kids favorite pancake from the menu and use it for your lesson)
1.OA.A.1 (Scenario or real life: class having pancakes and some get eaten)
1.OA.A.2 (Tons of word problems you can make!)

2.MD.C.8 MONEY (this is one of the main reasons why every 2nd grade teacher needs The Pancake Menu!)
2.MD.D.10 (class surveys, make bar graphs and charts or do other types of experiments and applications)
2.GA.3 (cutting up pancakes–if you can’t make them, draw them!)

3.NBT.A.1 (Kids will learn the place value system and money is a great way to teach it!)
3.G.A.2 (Cutting pancakes)
3.NF.A.3.B, 3.NF.A.3.C, 3.NF.A.3.D (Working with recipes and the measurements are fun and hands-on)
3.MD.A.1 (time making pancakes)
3.MD.A.2 (measuring pancakes)
3.MD.B.3 (surveys with the pancakes or recipes)

4.G.A.1 (Making these with pancake batter in a squirt bottle would be awesome)
4.G.A.2 (Cutting pancakes if fun–even if the kids can’t eat them for health laws or allergy reasons)
4.NF.B.3.A, 4.NF.B.3.B, 4.NF.B.3.D (making/using recipes is a great way to teach fractions!)
4.NF.B.4.A, 4.NF.B.4.B, 4.NF.B.4.C (Recipes with all their measurements are great teaching tools)
4.NF.C.5, 4.NF.C.6 (Money and change is great for this!)
4.MD.A.1, 4.MD.A.2 (There are lots of questions you and your students can make)

5.NF.A.1 (cooking comes in handy when teaching this principle)
5.NF.B.3 (sharing a meal between classmates)
5.NF.B.6 (think of scenarios if you needed to not double the recipe, but one recipe wasn’t enough–making 1.5 of the recipe!)
5.NF.B.7.C (sharing and using the recipes works great here)

While addition and subtraction are the obvious hands-on learning with the book, it can be stretched to meet almost any math topic (especially at the elementary level). I have had middle school teachers mention they could use it to talk about ratios, and how they could use it in a business class to talk about price points. A special education high school teacher said she would love to use it with her students because they need to practice going out into the community and the act of roleplaying at a restaurant is an important skill.

Common core alignment is great, but the main takeaway I hope you understand is–kids want to explore with numbers and there aren’t many books and resources out there that are this open-ended for them to play with.

2. Games are perfect for kids who are still developing their number sense, while the older students further develop knowledge of decimals, multiplication and division, etc. As a math teacher, can you elaborate on the type of math skills that kids develop through playing the Pancake Menu.

I’d be happy to! They learn how to solve problems! Not just any problems, but ones they create. Many kids think math is boring because it is just a bunch of numbers people throw at them. If they are pretending with numbers that involve something they want, children are more likely to explore and figure out answers to problems they wouldn’t otherwise. With The Pancake Menu, kids pick their orders, figure out their total and find that amount in money. Some children might try to find the exact amount, but you can encourage them to try new things. What if you only have this $10 bill, how much money would you get back when you pay for your order?

I’ve found that kids who enjoy math are happy to do the basic things, such as take orders, add them up and make change, but they don’t usually stop there. They are the students that start coming up with different scenarios to solve–taking orders and dividing it equally, figuring out if they ordered the same thing every day for a month what would the total be… They will not necessarily play with the money as much, because they are now working out problems in their heads or writing problems down to figure the answer to.

Kids that tend to shy away from math might not come up with different problems to solve, they are the ones using the manipulative (menu money) the most because they are trying to understand and enjoy really touching the money and working with it to solve the problems.

3. Walk me through the backing and purchasing of the Pancake Menu.
It’s pretty simple. I recommend watching the video, then to back a project on Kickstarter you need to sign in. Sign in can be done through Facebook, Google+, or by your email address. Once you are signed in, you can pledge and choose to receive a reward or make it a contribution. The payment goes through Amazon Payments and you will be notified that you will only be charged after the campaign is successful. If the campaign does not reach it’s goal by the end (in my case, $20,000 raised by January 31st 11PM PST) the project creator does not get any funds and will not be fulfilling any orders.

I hope you can back the project and share it with your contacts to get the word out. Time is limited and I’d love for you to help make this book a success. If I am not able to reach my goal I will still work to get this published, but it will be delayed.

Thanks for having me! Those were some great questions!

Thanks Lucy!

Best of luck!
Lena 🙂


One thought on “The Pancake Menu – Engaging Math Games

  1. Pingback: Two guest blog posts for my book : ) – Kids Menu Books

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