Math in Restaurants Lesson Plan


Download the full instructions for this lesson plan with all handouts.

Using video segments and web interactives from Get the Math, students engage in an exploration of mathematics, specifically reasoning and sense making, to solve real world problems. In this lesson, students focus on understanding the Big Ideas of Algebra: patterns, relationships, equivalence, and linearity; learn to use a variety of representations, including modeling with variables; build connections between numeric and algebraic expressions; and use what they have learned previously about number and operations, measurement, statistics, as applications of algebra. Methodology includes guided instruction, student-partner investigations, and communication of problem-solving strategies and solutions.

In the Introductory Activity, students view a video segment in which they learn how Sue Torres, an accomplished chef, uses math in her work and are presented with a mathematical restaurant challenge. In Learning Activity 1, students solve the challenge that Sue posed to the teams in the video. As students solve the problem, they have an opportunity to use an online simulation to find a solution. Students summarize how they solved the problem, followed by a viewing of the strategies and solutions used by the Get the Math teams. In Learning Activity 2, students try to solve additional interactive menu pricing challenges. In the Culminating Activity, students reflect upon and discuss their strategies and talk about the ways in which algebra can be applied in the world of restaurants and beyond.


Students will be able to:

  • Describe scenarios that require chefs to use mathematics and algebraic reasoning in creating menu pricing.
  • Identify a strategy and create a model for problem solving.
  • Represent data on two quantitative variables on a scatter plot, and describe how the variables are related.
  • Learn to recognize trend lines and predict a line of best fit.
  • Use statistics appropriate to the shape of the data distribution to compare center (median, mean) and spread (interquartile range, standard deviation) of two or more different data sets.
  • Represent data with box and whisker plots.
  • Fit a function to the data; use functions fitted to data to solve problems in the context of the data.
  • Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities, including point-slope form and slope-intercept form of a line.
  • Understand, explain, and use algebraic and numeric expressions and equations that are interconnected and build on one another to produce a coherent whole.