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What's For Breakfast: Math in Menu Planning





Lesson Objective

Help students create a breakfast menu, then work to measure ingredients and determine the time to cook. You will teach students that math is used every day, and you can do it in a fun way!

Common Core Standards

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.MD.B.3 – Tell and write time in hours and half-hours using analog and digital clocks.

CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.MD.C.4 – Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many are in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another. 


  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Worksheet
  • Pencil
  • Digital or analog clock



  • How many of you have ever prepared your own breakfast at home? And I’m not talking about a bowl of cereal or a Pop-Tart, but a meal like waffles? (Have students raise their hands in response.)
  • How do you measure the amount of food you will cook? (Have a student or two respond.)
  • How long does it take to cook your favorite breakfast meal? (Have a student or two respond.)



  • Math is in every part of our lives, and during cooking, we rely on numbers and time to prepare our tasty meals. (Ask whether the learners agree that to cook, math is essential. Yes or No answers are acceptable here.)
  • What is some food you enjoy making at home? (Wait for answers from students. Also, have a visual aid or representation of some healthy meals cooked at home. Have learners point out and name their favorites from the list.)
  • Some food requires you to cook for several people. You can prepare a meal for four or six people. (Ask learners how many people sit at their table during breakfast. Is it two people? Four? Six? Let them name the specific number of people.)
  • To prepare other meals, you need to measure the ingredient in specific portions to ensure everyone has enough food. You can measure your ingredients with tablespoons, teaspoons, or cups. (Ask them whether they have seen measurements being used during cooking. Suggest meals where measurements are important such as foods with flour or water that require measurement.)

Provide examples of common measurement terminology, say: 

  • To cook a breakfast pancake meal, you can add 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of oil, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, and 2 cups of hot water. (You can avoid animal-based protein ingredients like adding milk or eggs to be all-inclusive). Propose other examples of meals you feel are common for breakfast. Emphasize that learners should always attempt cooking with an adult’s supervision.
  • When baking or cooking meals, you need to know how long they cook so you don’t ruin the meal by overcooking or undercooking it. (Ask them what foods cook for less than 10 minutes and those that take over 30 minutes. Use the list of common meals cooked at home and ask them to guess how long they take. Close by presenting the actual time taken for these meals to cook according to cookbooks.)
  • Write down the days of the week and create ideas for menu planning. (Ask students what meals they would love to eat for breakfast. Write down the recipe on the board or display the recipe on your projector.)

Guided Practice

  1. Divide the classroom into pairs or small groups.
  2. Distribute measuring materials like cups, spoons, flour, and water (if suitable).
  3. Provide a worksheet of how many cups, teaspoons, and tablespoons are needed to practice their measuring skills for each menu item. 
  4. Walk around and assist any struggling students in measuring the correct proportions.
  5. Have students write down how long each breakfast item takes to cook properly. 
  6. If you are able, it may be fun to actually cook items such as pancakes with each group of students responsible for correctly measuring out a different ingredient. 



  • Who would like to share what they learned about menu planning? (Have a student or two respond.)
  • Who is going to propose changes to their breakfast menu at home? (Have students raise their hands in response.)
  • Explain that breakfast can be a chance to learn more about math and time-telling.
  • Mention that ingredients are also measured in weight (ounces) in professional recipes or menus, something they’ll learn later.
  • Add that breakfast is one of the most important meals for kids. Remind learners that kids who eat breakfast grow faster and study better.

Written by Simon Riitho
Education World Contributor
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