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Math Trips at Folino’s

This idea emerged after a year of working on the All Learner’s Project and a summer spent working at the Folino’s pizza restaurant in Burlington.

One of the reasons I joined the All Learner’s Network is the High Leverage Concepts.  There is so much power in the HLC’s.  There is power in their focus.  There is power in pushing students to deep understandings of each concept. As a math interventionist at my school, the High Leverage Concepts are the guide-map for all our math intervention.  We determine what intervention instruction students receive based on their understanding of the HLC’s.  Number talk strings are chosen based on a students’ understanding of the HLC’s.  Goals are written with the HLC’s in mind.  Essentially, the HLC’s drive every aspect of math intervention at our school.  As a result, I spent most of last year building up resources, tools, instructional strategies, and manipulatives that help students better develop their own understanding of each High Leverage Concept.  My intervention instruction was more targeted, more focused, and the tools and manipulatives students were using were producing lots of growth in understanding. 

By the end of last year, my intervention instruction was at a whole new level just by staying focused. However, there were still some big obstacles I was facing in each of my intervention groups.  I was still plagued with some heavy questions for my most struggling learners.  What can I do to increase student engagement in math class, especially for the students who believe they are not good at math?  How can I create math experiences for students that better connect to real life, especially for students who believe the math we’re doing doesn’t matter?  How can I help students leave behind problematic labels or beliefs about their own potential in math class? 

I stepped into my summer job still pondering these questions. In restaurant work, there is always down time in between meals when the employees are just filling the time with prep work.  As I completed prep task after prep task at Folino’s over the summer, I would create pizza-related math problems related to each High Leverage Concept.  It was my math dork way of getting through the boring work of food prep, but it was also the seed for the idea to create math field trips at Folino’s.

The more restaurant industry math problems I made up in my head, the more I realized that problem-solving in a real world context is one way to try to address some of those questions that plagued me last school year.  I believe that the excitement of being surrounded by the restaurant while problem-solving and the opportunity to be immersed in the actual real life context of each problem will create an even higher level of engagement and effort in math problem-solving than we may see in our classrooms.  I think stepping out of our classrooms and into the real world is a way for some students to step out of the labels they live in inside our school walls.  I believe that a math field trip to Folino’s could be a mini math experience for some of our students that helps shift the belief they have about their own ability to problem solve and make sense of the math. 

I created a set of 4-6 pizza math problems related to each High Leverage Concept at the grade levels K-5.  In addition, there is a series of problems related to the Folino’s pizza dough recipe for grades 6-8 that also all connect back to the HLC’s around proportional.  Below is a link to the info on booking a field trip!  If you go to Folino’s with your class, please let me know how it goes!!!!



Pre And Post Field Trip Activities

Erin Oliver, ALN Facilitator

Math Specialist at Grand Isle School




Tyler just folded 85 boxes.  How many stacks of 10 boxes can he build with the boxes that he folded?  

A birthday party orders 5 juice boxes, 9 cokes, and 4 sunkists.  How many total drinks does Amanda need to charge them for?

At the beginning of the night, we only have enough shrimp left for 20 more of the firecracker shrimp pizza.  Erin sells 3 shrimp pizzas for a take out order and 5 more for customers in the restaurant.  How many shrimp pizzas do we have left to sell?

There are 33 seats still available in the restaurant at 6 o’clock on Friday night.  At 6:30, Tyler seats a group of 10 people.  How many seats are available in the restaurant now?

Bobby folds 42 boxes in one hour.  Seth folds 49 boxes in one hour.  How many more boxes did Seth fold than Bobby?



Erin knows that the restaurant needs 35 salads prepped and in the salad line before the dinner rush.  There are already 7 done.  How many more does Erin have to prep?

There are 4 reservations for 5 o’clock.  Bobby needs to reserve 8 seats for a birthday party.  He needs to reserve 9 seats for a work party.  He also needs to reserve 6 seats for a family.  How many total seats does he need to reserve?

405 is the record number of pizzas sold in one day at Folino’s.  Seth told the team that they had sold 256 pizzas so far that day.  How many more pizzas would they need to sell to beat the record?

Jesse, Alex, and Julio are making a big pizza order.   A school wants 40 pizzas for a celebration.  They want 10 pepperoni, 12 cheese, and 9 buffalo chicken.  The rest will be sausage.  How many sausage pizzas do they need to make for the school?

For Saturday, Seth figures out that we need to have 368 large dough containers ready to cook.  There are already 54 dough containers in the front and another 139 in the back cooler.  How many more dough containers does Seth need for the night?

Last weekend was super busy for the team.  On Friday, the team sold 329 pizzas.  On Saturday, they sold 285 pizzas. How many did they sell in total for the two days?


Maeve is refilling small ranch containers before the dinner rush.  She figures out she needs to fill 30 more containers.  Draw three different arrays that she could arrange her containers into to make the task easier.  Write a multiplication equation that matches each drawing.

Charlotte is folding more large pizza boxes to get ready for the dinner rush.  She needs to fold enough boxes to make five stacks of fifteen.  How many pizza boxes does she need to fold in total?

The special pizza tonight is an eggplant parm. Seth wants to know how many more special pizzas can we make before we run out of the eggplant slices.  There are 75 eggplant slices left, and we put 8 slices of eggplant on each special pizza.  How many more pizzas can we make before we run out?

Buddy needs to buy enough menus to leave three on every table. Inside the restaurant there are 11 tables.  Outside on the patio, there are 8 more tables.  How many menus does Buddy need to buy for the restaurant?

Seth needs to transfer 160 dough containers to the Folino’s in Shelburne.  Each transfer bin holds 40 dough containers. How many transfer bins should Seth bring with him?  

A family of 6 comes to the restaurant.  They order 3 large pizzas.  There are 8 slices of pizza on each large. How many slices does each family member get to eat? 



Amanda is folding boxes.  She has four packs of unfolded boxes. Each pack comes with 50 unfolded boxes.  How many stacks of 15 boxes can Emily fold and build?  Will she have leftover boxes?

Six friends went to Folino’s for a birthday party.  They decided to order 5 large pizzas.  They ordered a pepperoni and a margherita pizza for 16 dollars each.  They ordered a buffalo chicken pizza and an BK special for 18 dollars each. They ordered a frankenstein pizza for 19 dollars. They decide to split their total bill between all 6 of them. How much does each person have to pay?

Bobby is looking for someone to come clean pizza stains off the carpet at the restaurant. He knows that the carpet area is 22 feet by 35 feet.  The carpet cleaner he finds charges based on the size of the carpet. He told Bobby he calculates the price by dividing the area of the carpet in half and charging that amount in dollars.  How much will he charge Bobby to clean the carpet?

A family of 5 comes to the restaurant. They order 3 large pizzas. There are 8 slices of pizza on each large. How many slices does each family member get to eat? Will there be leftover slices if everyone eats the same amount?

Seth needs to transfer 250 dough containers to the Folino’s in Shelburne.  Each transfer bin holds 40 dough containers.  How many transfer bins should Seth bring with him?  

Our dough recipe makes 1 batch of dough which is enough for 155 large pizzas.  We are expecting to sell over 300 large pizzas this Friday night. We already have 54 large dough containers in the walk-in cooler.  How many more large pizza doughs do we need?  Should he make 1 more batch of dough or 2 more batches of dough?


The recipe for our scallops calls for ¼ cup of lemon juice for every batch.  Mama has 3 cups of lemon juice left.  How many batches of scallops can she make with the lemon juice she has?

Our water jugs hold 5 gallons of water, but Erin only fills it up to the 2 ½ gallon mark to make it easier to carry.  By late lunch, ⅔ of a gallon are already gone.  How many gallons of water are left in the jug before Erin will need to refill it?

A family of five orders 3 large pizzas:  a buffalo chicken pizza, a veggie pizza, and a cheese pizza. Each pizza is cut into 8 slices.  The mom ate ½ of the veggie pizza slices. The dad ate ¼ of the buffalo chicken slices and a ¼ of the cheese slices. Each of the three children ate ⅛ of the slices on each pizza.  How many slices are left of each of their pizzas?

Tyler walks to work at Folino’s every day.  He walks ⅚ of a mile to get to the restaurant in the morning.  On the way home, he takes a shortcut and walks ⅘ of a mile home.  How many miles total does he walk he day?


The middle school Folino’s math challenge problems are set up differently than the elementary grades.  The middle schoolers will be given the real Folino’s pizza dough recipe and will be faced with four different problem-solving stations related to the dough recipe that are based on the real-life math that happens with the dough recipe every day!

Dough recipe problem 1-  Students will be given the cost of all the ingredients for one batch of dough and the amount of dough containers one batch produces.  They will use this recipe to calculate the unit cost of one dough container. 

Dough recipe problem 2-  Students will use the original recipe and figure out the amount of ingredients needed for ½ of a batch, ⅓ of a batch, a double batch, and a triple batch.

Dough recipe problem 3-   Students will figure out how much dough to make for the next morning based on formulas that the restaurant uses to calculate this every day.

Dough recipe problem 4-   Students are given the ratio of the diameter of an unstretched large dough ball to the diameter of stretched large pizza dough.  Students use this ratio to figure out how much you could stretch other size dough balls.  They are also given the formula to figure out area of a circle to compare the square inches of pizza for each size as well.

Published: October 31, 2018