On the Mountain, it is cool enough to bake in the oven during the Summer months. This is also a great time to make something together as a family, like pizza. In our family, we have many different preferences when it comes to toppings. Some of us like a plain cheese, some of us like pepperoni, and some of us like to put everything on it to jazz it up. This gives our family an opportunity to talk about the different combinations of pizza we can create, if you have a finite number of ingredients.
Let’s say you have cheese, pepperoni, olives, chicken, and tomatoes to choose from for toppings. You can easily make a cheese pizza, or a cheese and pepperoni pizza, or a cheese and pepperoni and olive pizza, or even a cheese and pepperoni and olive and tomato pizza. How many different varieties can you make?
Thinking about the different varieties, or combinations, you can make is actually preparing the child to think and do the Mathematics. At this point, you can just ask them to think, estimate, and calculate the number of combinations you can make. They can draw pictures, or write each combination out. For this age, I would suggest talking it out and creating some of those combinations with the kids. What you are giving them is experience in working this out. Be mindful of how many ingredients you work with though. Start simple and then add more ingredients to choose from at another time. Most importantly, have fun!
Something to Think About:
When making pizza and talking about the number of pizzas you can make, just take about five minutes with your child. You can take more time if you want, but make it enjoyable, not like a quiz. There will be a question on whether or not double toppings count as a different pizza. The question is, by adding double toppings does this create a different tasting pizza? This is a great question to discuss with the kids!
Keep in mind that you may have a child who can think this all in her/his head. You may have a child who enjoys drawing out the pictures, or listing the combinations. You may have the child who wants you to buy lots of pizza dough so that she/he can actually create all those pizzas to find out. For this child, keep the number of ingredients to three! We all learn differently and we all must honor the child on her/his learning.
Think about sequencing. What do you do first when making a pizza? What do you do next? When do you add the cheese, or other toppings? This is another great way to have the little ones work on their sequencing and critical thinking. Make this experience fun. The end result is to create a great pizza, memories, and learn about Math!