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Lesson Plans
Menu Math
3rd–5th Grade
Objectives Objectives

CCSS Math: Operations & Algebraic Thinking
  • 3.OA.D.8: Solve two-step word problems using the four operations. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.
  • 4.OA.A.3: Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.

Materials Materials Needed Preparation: Photocopy the Dave’s Diner Receipt, Activity Card, Menu and Create-A-Menu reproducible for each student. (An answer card reproducible is also available.)

Introduction Introduction

Hold up the restaurant menus, and ask students to think about the math skills needed at a restaurant. Invite students to brainstorm these math skills (e.g., adding and subtracting food prices, calculating percentages for the tip, etc.). Record their answers on chart paper or a chalkboard.

Procedure Procedure

  1. Provide each student with a copy of the Dave’s Diner Receipt, Menu and Activity Card. Tell students that they are going to use a restaurant menu and receipt to solve math problems.
  2. Explain how you can substitute a letter for information you don’t know in a problem. For example, if you want to know the total cost of two items on the menu, such as a milkshake and an order of fries, you can use the letter “a” to represent the total cost. In this example, a = cost of the milkshake + cost of the fries.
  3. Next, invite students to read through each question on the activity card and volunteer how they would use the menu and/or receipt to solve the problem. Challenge them to write the questions in the form of an equation. Point out that the questions will require them to perform two different operations to find the answers (e.g., addition and multiplication, addition and division, subtraction and division, and so on.) For example, in the first question, a = amount each person paid. So an equation for this problem would be:
        a = (cost of potato skins + cost of starter sampler + cost of steak fries) / 3
  4. Have students solve each question, and invite volunteers to share which operations they used, their equation and the answer.

Guided Practice Independent Practice

  1. Provide a copy of the Create-A-Menu reproducible to each student. Tell students you would like them to create their own restaurant menu and an activity card with three two-step questions.
  2. Have students create at least five menu items with prices. Then encourage students to write three questions below the menu. Remind them that the menu (and prices) should be used to find the answers, and each question should involve a two-step problem.
  3. Have students switch cards with a partner and challenge them to correctly answer the questions on their partner’s card!


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the 3rd–5th Grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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