Pancake day maths

Whatever you want to call it - Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras - it's a great day for baking and kids love to get involved.

Baking is great for putting maths into practice, and showing children how they can use maths skills in real life is a great motivator to keep them interested and keen to learn.

Whether you're using grandma's secret recipe, a shop-bought pancake mix, or even just eating pancakes straight from the packet, we've got a few ideas here for you to develop and reinforce some of the mathematical concepts your child has been introduced to.

Measurement

Measuring is a big part of mathematics. Let your child read the quantities required and see if they can measure out that amount in a measuring jug or set of scales.

Estimation

Once you’ve made your batter, have a go at estimating how many pancakes you'll be able to make with the quantity you have. In primary school, kids start to learn estimation as making a 'clever guess', and it helps set up good skills for checking answers when they move on to more complex calculations.

Division

Older kids can have a go at dividing the number of pancakes among the people to be fed. Ask: 'How many will each of us get? Will there be any left over?' You can reinforce the learning by asking your child to say the calculation they've just done in a mathematical way, for example 15 divided by 4 equals 3, with a remainder of 3.

Fractions

Things like pancakes are brilliant for learning fractions because they’re easy to cut up evenly. If you slice in half, then quarters and eighths, you can demonstrate how equivalent fractions work. Ask questions like ‘would you rather have three eighths or a quarter?’

Sequences and symmetry

When you get to the decorating stage, this is a great opportunity to learn about sequencing and symmetry.

If you use several different types or colours of decoration, you can ask your child to follow a pattern - for example banana, blueberry, banana, blueberry. Older kids can try to do more complex sequences.

Challenge your child to make a symmetrical design with fruit or sauces - older kids can try to make one with two (or more!) lines of symmetry as an extra challenge.

Enjoy!

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