Come for the pizza, stay for the math

Flat lay composition slices of pizza with bacon, cheese and tomaOur students are passionate about food.  This past week, I was reminded of how that passion can actually support learning.

Our school is participating in NYC’s innovative Participatory Budgeting Program for students, in which the student body is given $2000 to spend on the school, using a democratic process to propose ideas and vote on them. The first thing the students came up with was “better food.”  Given that our students are from cultures all over the world, this was not a huge surprise.  Through the program, the students learned that spending the money on food would not be a sustainable project; it would result in perhaps one to two meals for the entire school, and then the money would be gone.  They quickly moved on to other ideas.

However, the students’ passion about the topic gave me pause.  Continue reading