Pizza Math Part 1: Fractions for Kids

We are making mini pizzas (pizzetas) and dividing them up into fractions. First, we practiced with paper plates! To sweeten the mathematics lesson about fractions, we included M&Ms…a rare treat for the kids. My son (almost 4) participated a little but this is more an activities for kindergarten or early elementary.

Materials:

• 3 Paper Plates
• 3 color markers or crayons
• 1 black marker or pen
• straight edge
• scissors
• sticky notes or index cards or paper
• 24 small treats (goldfish crackers, candies, etc.), all of the same type

Directions:

1. Fold the first paper place in half. Trace the fold with the black marker. Label each half: “1/2”. Color in one of the halves. Ask, what do you think the bottom number (denominator) represents.What about the top number (numerator)? Introduce the terminology denominator and numerator.

2. Ask: “If you fold the paper plate in half twice, how many sections would you have?” Take the second plate and fold it in half and then in half again. Count the sections. Trace the folds with the black marker. Label each quarter: “1/4”. Color in one of the quarters. Ask, which is the denominator and which is the numerator? If you had 8 treats, would you prefer one fourth or one half of them? How about two fourths or one half?

3. Ask: “What if we fold the paper plate in half again? What would be half of one quarter?” Take the third plate and fold it in half and then in half again and then in half once more. Count the sections. Trace the folds with the black marker. Label each eighth: “1/8”. Color in one of the eighths. Then, color in one half using the same color from the first plate. Ask: “How many eighths equal one half?”  Color in one quarter using the same color from the second plate. Ask: “How many eighths equal one quarter?”

The plates should look like this:

4. Take your treats and divide up eight so that there is an even number in each segment of the plate divided into halves. Do the same for the plate divided into fourths and the plate divided into eights. At this point, my son stopped randomly coloring his plates and joined in again, lured by the M&M’s.

How many eighths are in a half? How about fourth?

Would you rather have 1/2, 2/4, or 4/8?

Hey, they’re the same thing, mommy!!!

5. Okay, let’s represent that in a written equation. Cut up the segments of the plates and use the stick-it notes to write the fractions and the equal signs and less than and greater than signs. Make various equations with the plates.

And look for fractions everywhere! “Hey, mom! I’m going to cut my sandwich in quarters!”

Math is delicious!

The following day we made pizzettas to reinforce this lesson in fractions and I will post that, soon!

Two books we enjoy for fractions are:

Jump, Kangaroo, Jump! (Mathstart)

Full House: An Invitation to Fractions

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Written byCandace

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

2 Responses to "Pizza Math Part 1: Fractions for Kids"

1. German Lemasters says:

I sent this to my husband and he is steadily working his way through your lists. We’ve ticked 3 offf so far (my girls thank you for giving their dad ideas for their Saturday adventures!) Well done on compliling them and thanks for sharing:)Nikki Smith

2. […] Educational shares an idea using paper plates in her post Pizza Math. I love how she is having her little ones learn about the numerator and denominator as well as […]