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Primary Maths in context: Pancake Day activities for real world Maths

By Sophie Waterman-Smith 

Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is approaching so here's how to take advantage of all its potential for Maths activities with purpose in your KS2 primary school classroom.

At Third Space we do our best to squeeze every bit of Maths we can from any event celebrated in school and this is no exception. Here are some fun facts and Pancake Day Maths activities to use and adapt for your classrooms at this time. Pupils can find it hard to relate a lot of mathematical concepts to the real world, especially at primary level, but hopefully ideas may inspire you to bring a bit of fun and real life into maths whilst teaching in an engaging way! 

Fun Pancake Maths Facts

Did you know...?
  • The largest pancake ever made was in Rochdale, Manchester in 1994. It was 15.01m in diameter, 2.5cm thick and weighed 3 tonnes.
  • The record for the most number of pancake flips in 1 minute is 140.
  • The highest pancake toss came to 9.47m in New York in 2010.
  • The most pancakes ever made in 1 hour is 1093 and this challenge was completed by an American restaurant owner in 2013.


Free download: 

20 topical maths problems and investigations for spring term 2017

Pancake Related Activities to Use in Your Classroom

The Estimation Game

Use the fun facts above to play an estimation game with your pupils. You could ask them 'What is the weight of the largest pancake ever made?' Or to 'Estimate the most number of pancakes ever made in one hour.'

Get your pupils to write down their estimations individually. They could then compare and discuss their answers with a partner/their tables or the class answers could be gathered together and used for data collection and/or to find averages from their data.

The Largest Pancake Calculation

As an activity for more able learners or as an extension activity, provide and explain to your pupils the formulae for the circumference and area of a circle, then get them to work out these calculations for the largest pancake ever made in Rochdale.

The Perfect Pancake

As homework, ask your pupils to bring in their parents' recipes for pancakes. Then use these recipes to find the perfect pancake recipe. Pupils could do this either by discussing and debating which recipes they believe are the best and providing reasons for their answers or they could use averages from the class data to calculate the perfect pancake. 

For more pancake Maths ideas to practise fractions and algebra see Practical Pancake Problems



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