Pizza Creations: Thinking About Ingredients, Combinations, and Sequencing

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!