Pizza can be a great way to teach preschoolers math and patterns. Try some of these cool pattern and fraction activities along with some stories to share and enjoy.
If you ask young children to name their favorite foods one of the top ones chosen would be pizza. Use these teaching ideas to provide some fun filled activities in your classroom featuring one of their familiar favorite foods.
Gather the children together and share a book about pizza.
Pizza for Breakfast by Maryann Kovalski.
How Do Octopi Eat Pizza Pie from the I Love Math Series
"Hi Pizza Man" by Virginia Walter
Show the children pictures of pizza and ask them to describe it in their own words. What do they notice about the toppings? (There are many different ones) What do they notice about the shape of the pizza crusts? (They are round - the twenty-four slice ones are rectangular)
What Types of Patterns Can You Make with Pizza?
In the book Pizza for Breakfast, Frank makes his best patterns with pepperoni, olives and anchovies when he serves the man who suddenly appears. Provide paper plates and cut-outs of toppings and invite your students to make beautiful patterns on their "pizzas." Alternatively you could provide circles on butcher paper and ask the students to use crayons and markers to create their patterns.
Provide outlines of four-slice pizzas with one quarter showing three slices of pepperoni. Ask students to make the same pattern on the other three slices.
Next provide outlines of six-slice pizzas with one slice showing three slices of pepperoni and the next slice showing two slices of pepperoni. Ask students to continue the pattern on the remaining sections.
How Many Different Patterns?
Provide paper plates or pizza outlines and a variety of cut out pictures of pizza toppings (mushrooms, pepperoni, cheese, peppers, olives). Ask students to use two different toppings each time. How many different pizzas can they make?
Introduce the book Eating Fractions by Bruce McMillan. After looking at the entire book go back to the page with the pizza. Invite the students to describe what they see in the picture. Provide circles of paper to represent the crust and show the students how to fold it in half one way and in half the other way. Then ask them to cut along the lines so that they have four pieces the same. Ask them to put exactly the same toppings on each piece.
Five Pizza Math Activities
Ask your students to draw a picture of their family. How many slices will they need to give each member one slice each (two slices each, three slices each)?
Make a bar graph and ask each student to choose a picture of his/her favorite topping and place in the appropriate column. Which is the one favored most? Which is the one favored least?
In Pizza for Breakfast, the man disappears without paying for his pizza. Ask students how much they think he should have paid? Have available take-out menus so that you can compare prices.
Show your class the cover of the book Ten Black Dots Board Book by Donald Crews and hint to them that the dots on the numerals look like pepperoni slices. Suggest that they could make pepperoni numbers. Provide sheets with bold numerals and ask the students to draw the equivalent number of pepperoni pieces on each one (on the numeral five draw five pieces of pepperoni and so on)
A visit to a pizzeria may be possible. If not set up the Home Center as a pizza parlor and invite your students to be customers and wait staff. (Melissa and Doug Pizza Party set is a great addition to the home center).
Conclusion and Sources
After all of this learning, it's time for a pizza party! Make it easy. Provide each student with an English muffin and put out on a table various toppings (shredded cheese, olive slices, pineapple chunks, green pepper strips, etc.). Their preschool pizza patterning skills will kick in and they will want to make all kinds of patterns before they eat. Enjoy!
Author's own classroom experience
Melissa and Doug Pizza Party Play Toy - http://www.melissaanddoug.com/pizza-party-play-food