Car board game.

CareerStart lessons: Grade six

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Learning outcomes

  • Students will use fractions and customary measurements to alter recipes to serve large numbers of people.
  • Students will use operations with decimals to determine profit from a catering job.

Teacher planning

Materials needed

  • Student handouts:
    • Advanced students: “A Catered Affair” catering problem and recipes (gingerbread and punch)
    • Regular students: “Apple Pan Dowdy: How Many Recipes?” problem
  • Teacher resources:
    • Discussion questions
    • Answer key for Apple Pan Dowdy problem
  • Chart paper and markers for each group

Time required for lesson

Two days in class:

  • Day 1 — Whole group discussion and cooperative group work
  • Day 2 — Groups present solutions, answer questions, and compare solutions.


  1. Using the discussion questions, conduct a class discussion about the food service industry.
  2. Put students into groups of four and hand out problems to the groups — “A Catered Affair” for advanced students and “Apple Pan Dowdy: How Many Recipes?” for students working on grade level. Give the students class time to complete the problems, and have each group create a poster that shows its solution to the problem.
  3. The following day in class, have the groups present their solutions to the rest of the class.
  4. Close by having the class compare the different solutions.


Optional resources for more information on the topics covered in this lesson

Kitchen Math
Students can use this website to find fraction and decimal equivalents among the units of measurement for cooking.
Math Beyond School: Cooking with Math
This Math Central webpage explains the mathematics of cooking using conversions, multiplying fractions in recipes to make enough, substituting ingredients, how weight affects cooking time, and estimating the cost of a dish.
Math in Daily Life: Cooking by Numbers
This webpage provides information on ratios and proportions in cooking.
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Chefs and Head Cooks
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides detailed information on the nature of the work; training, other qualifications, and advancement; employment; job outlook; earnings; and related occupations.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 6

  • Goal 1: Number and Operations - The learner will understand and compute with rational numbers.
    • Objective 1.04: Develop fluency in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of non-negative rational numbers.
      • Analyze computational strategies.
      • Describe the effect of operations on size.
      • Estimate the results of computations.
      • Judge the reasonableness of solutions.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 6

        • Ratios & Proportional Relationships
          • 6.RPR.2Understand the concept of a unit rate a/b associated with a ratio a:b with b ? 0, and use rate language in the context of a ratio relationship. For example, “This recipe has a ratio of 3 cups of flour to 4 cups of sugar, so there is 3/4 cup of flour...
        • The Number System
          • 6.NS.1Interpret and compute quotients of fractions, and solve word problems involving division of fractions by fractions, e.g., by using visual fraction models and equations to represent the problem. For example, create a story context for (2/3) ÷ (3/4) and...
          • 6.NS.3Fluently add, subtract, multiply, and divide multi-digit decimals using the standard algorithm for each operation.