Sandwich Shop Game

In this lesson, children look at a menu and count out sandwich pieces to build sandwiches and then calculate the prices of their sandwiches.

Lesson for:

(See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)

Content Area:

Numbers and Operations

Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers and number systems
  • Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates
  • Understand patterns, relations and functions
  • Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another
  • Use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships
  • Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize and display relevant data to answer these questions

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Counting with understanding and recognizing “how many” in sets of objects
  • Developing understanding of the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers and of ordinal and cardinal numbers and their connections
  • Understanding the effects of adding and subtracting whole numbers
  • Developing and using strategies for whole-number computations, with a focus on addition and subtraction
  • Developing fluency with basic number combinations for addition and subtraction
  • Modeling situations that involve the addition and subtraction of whole numbers, using objects, pictures and symbols

Sandwich Shop Game

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • Sandwich shop menus:
    • Bread: 1 cent
    • Ham: 2 cents
    • Lettuce: 3 cents
    • Tomatoes: 4 cents
    • Cheese: 5 cents
    • Onions: 6 cents
  • Sandwich items (I use craft foam sheets or laminated colored construction paper to preserve the life of the game. Depending on the number of children, you will want about 24 pieces of each kind of food.)
    • Bread (Brown and cut out to look like a slice of bread. I make a lot of these because the children usually have two slices of bread for their sandwiches. I write 1¢ on top of the bread.
    • Ham (Pink and cut out to look like a square with rounded edges. Write  cents on the ham.)
    • Lettuce (A green circle with frilly edges. Write 3¢ on the lettuce.)
    • Tomato (A red circle. Write  cents on the tomato.)
    • Cheese (A yellow square with rounded edges. Write 5¢ on the cheese.)
    • Onion (A white circle. Write 6¢ on the onion.)
      (You can be creative and adapt your ingredient selection as needed. I work in a nut-free environment, so peanut butter is not an option)
  • Trays or low-edged baskets that the children can use to collect their sandwich ingredients.
  • Recording sheets that will enable each child to record the number of each ingredients that he/she collected and the price of the child’s sandwich.

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 2: Introduce activity.

  1. Ask the children if they have ever made a sandwich before or been at a deli or a restaurant and ordered a sandwich. Explain that today they are going to make their own sandwiches and figure out how much their sandwiches cost. Say: “The name of the game is The Sandwich Shop.
  2. Explain the directions of the game. Using the items available, the children will make a sandwich. Model what that would look like. Say: “Let’s see… I want two pieces of bread, a piece of ham, one piece of cheese and a tomato.” Assemble your sandwich. Say: “Now I need to add up all of my sandwich ingredients. I will use my recording sheet to do this.” On your recording sheet, put the number 2 next to the bread quantity and the number 1 next the cheese, tomato and ham quantities.
  3. Add up the ingredients. Say: “A piece of bread costs 1¢ and I have two of them: 1+1=2. I have a piece of ham. Who can look on the menu and see how much a piece of ham costs? (2¢) So 2+2=4.” Add up the cost of the remaining sandwich items. Say: “My sandwich costs 13¢. Now you will get a chance to assemble a sandwich and figure out the cost of your own sandwich.”

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Place the menus and the sandwich pieces at different stations around the room. Each child should have his/her own recording sheet and access to a menu and the sandwich pieces.
  2. Once the children are done constructing their sandwiches, circulate to see if any of the children need help adding up the cost of their sandwiches. You might need to put out counters to help the children add.
  3. When all of the children have made their sandwiches and added up the prices of their sandwich ingredients, have them compare their sandwiches. Ask: “Who has the most expensive sandwich? Who has the least expensive sandwich? Why?”

Additional Extensions

  • Once the children have assembled and calculated the price of one sandwich, have them build another sandwich using different items or more items. The children can do this activity more than once, always changing it up.
  • Add more items (chicken for 7¢, jelly for 8¢, etc.). It is easy to replicate these items using the craft foam sheets. You don’t even necessarily need to increase the price, especially if your children are just beginning to add. You can keep the cost of all of the items below 5 cents and have multiple items for the same price.

Step 4: Vocabulary.

  • Add: Increase in amount or number (e.g.,”When we add a piece of cheese and a tomato together, how much will that be?”)
  • Calculate: To determine the amount or number of something (e.g.,”Let’s calculate the price of this sandwich.”)
  • Most: Having the greatest quantity or number (e.g.,”Who has the most expensive sandwich?”)
  • Least: Having the smallest quantity or number (e.g.,”Who has the least expensive sandwich?”)

Early Math Glossary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Not yet identify numbers
  • Be capable of number recognition, but not addition
Child care providers may:
  • Read the menu to the children and have the children count out the number of pieces called out (The children will be making the same sandwiches and gathering the items for their sandwiches.)
  • Design a different menu that has the children constructing sandwiches on the menu, but not calculating the prices of their sandwiches (The menu should contain different variations of a sandwich using the provided items. For example, Sandwich #1 has one piece of bread, two pieces of cheese, one tomato and one onion. The children will count out and collect those items for their sandwiches. Sandwich #2 will be a different sandwich, using the provided items on the menu.)
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Add single-digit numbers fluently and be starting to expand into numbers 10-20
Child care providers may:
  • Once the children have assembled and calculated the price of one sandwich, have them build another sandwich using different items or more items. The children can do this activity more than once, always changing it up.
  • Add more items, e.g., chicken for 7¢, jelly for 8¢ (It is easy to replicate these items using the craft foam sheets. You don’t even necessarily need to increase the prices of the ingredients, especially if your children are just beginning to add. You can keep the cost of all items below 5 cents and have multiple items for the same price.)

Suggested Books

  • Lemonade for Sale (MathStart 3) by Stuart J. Murphy (New York: HarperCollins, 1997)
  • 1+1=5 and Other Unlikely Additions by David LaRochelle (New York: Sterling, 2010)
  • This Plus That: Life’s Little Equations by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (New York: HarperCollins, 2011)

Music and Movement

Outdoor Connections

  • While this lesson isn’t about money, have the children set up a store or a lemonade stand. Keep the prices low and only use pennies to pay for the items. You don’t even need to use money to play. You can use can use snap blocks or any other manipulatives. The price of a glass of lemonade can be four snap blocks. The shopper needs to count out four blocks and give those blocks to the shopkeeper. Divide the group in half. One group can be the store and the other group can shop.
  • This is a great activity to cleanse your classroom of unwanted items. The children can “buy” the items and have something to take home. The children love taking home little mementos from their classroom activities.

Web Resources

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