The Boat House restaurant in Chichester is helping local school children to engage with their maths lessons by supplying their quirky menus for maths challenges, which use fractions instead of decimals (the Toasted Club Sandwich, for example, is priced at £7½).
The idea was birthed when Mrs Julia Powell, a teacher at Plaistow and Kirdford Primary School, visited the restaurant at Chichester marina and asked if she could take a menu to form the basis of a maths lesson.
“The class loved using the menu to convert fractions into decimal numbers,” said Mrs Powell. “We chose an order of some of the delicious food and tried to add the prices up as fractions (came to £41 and four fifths) and also in ‘money’ (£41.80), and then checked that the two totals were equivalent.”
The children were so enthused by their learning that The Boat House has now supplied a new menu and has set them a fresh challenge for World Maths Day (1 March): to create a set menu to include a choice of three starters, four mains, and four desserts for a specified price.
“The children can then compare that to what it would have cost without the ‘set menu’ price and work out the savings. I will also set some more challenging tasks for those who are very able – such as working out percentage savings or posing scenarios such as’ The Boat House has offered a 15% discount on the set menu price for two’,” said Mrs Powell.
“Not only are the fractions on the menu fantastic for learning maths,” she continued, “it is also fun (and rather mouth-watering) to be distracted by lovely looking items such as warm waffles or a mezze board!”
Staff at the restaurant were only too delighted to be contacted by Mrs Powell and to be working in partnership with a local school. The Boat House is owned by the Ideal Collection, a group of six restaurants across Hampshire and West Sussex which employs over 160 local people. The owner, Matthew Boyle, also set up The Ideal Foundation in 2013 which has raised over £50,000 for local community initiatives.
“This is exactly the kind of community project we want to be engaged in,” said Alastair Taylor, General Manager “Our ethos has always been about giving back to the local community and we are so pleased that the children at Plaistow and Kirdford Primary School have got so much value out of using our menus.”