Time to Celebrate


To create a plan that will provide a meal for 30 people within a given budget.


Photo of the Riverfront Club Courtesy Cincinnati Reds

The Story

In spring 2003, the Nation’s Restaurant News reported on the food sold in baseball stadiums. Many major league stadiums are inviting local restaurants to sell food inside the stadium. For example, Quaker Steak and Lube in Pittsburgh and the Kowloon Restaurant in Boston sell food during the games. These local restaurants now sell their food inside the stadiums. Some ballparks have restaurants that are known nationwide, like McDonalds. As new stadiums are being designed, they are looking at how to provide the space for different restaurants. They are finding many ways to offer food choices for the fans.

You are a volunteer coach for your local Babe Ruth League softball team. The team is going to have their awards banquet at the nearby major-league stadium. They will watch a baseball game and have the banquet after the game. You need to plan enough food for 30 people for all of the players, coaches, and parents. Since stadiums are now offering so many choices, you will need to plan a menu for the banquet.

The league needs a detailed plan for your banquet. The plan should include all of the details for the menu. The total budget for the banquet is $400. You also need to include the benefits of your menu in the plan. The benefits will list the reasons why you selected the food for the menu.

In addition, the ballpark has informed you that there is a soon-to-come price increase. Because of this, the league wants you to include expressions that represent your food selections in your plan. The expressions will allow the totals to be changed easily. Be sure to identify the variables used in the expressions. Then evaluate the expressions using the current prices.


To get an idea of the many ways you could develop your menu, let’s look at a simpler problem. First, think of the number of different ways you could purchase $4.00 hot dogs, $3.00 French fries, and $2.00 sodas. You must spend no more than $10.00.

Make a list of the different ways you believe that the $10.00 could be spent. Think about if there is an organized way of communicating your data. Next, your options share with a partner. See if your partner has some ways to spend the money that you missed. Next, discuss with the class all of the possible options.

 Were you surprised at how many ways there were to spend the $10.00?

 Now, write an expression that would represent the cost of food with h for the cost of a hot dog, f for the cost of French fries, and s for the cost of a soda. Share your expression with your partner and then with the class.

 Write an equation from your expression that shows how to spend exactly $10.00. How many ways are there to spend exactly $10.00?

 Now, look at the prices on the “Ballpark Costs Information” worksheet. You need to create a menu for 30 people. Your menu needs to provide variety because you do not know all of the people so you do not know what they like. Your menu will also need to feed everyone and costs less than $400. You may need to purchase food for more than 30 people so that everyone will get what they want. You do not want anyone to go away hungry or without the food they want.

On your own, create a menu and determine its cost. Check with your partner and see if both of you feel that the menu meets the needs of different people and is less than $400.


You are to prepare a plan to give to the league. Your plan must include the menu, and the total cost  (less than $400). Also include in your plan the expression for your menu with all variables identified and all of your calculations for the cost of the menu. (This can be done within the plan or on a separate sheet of paper.) A very good plan will also include a discussion of nutritional and other benefits of the menu you select.

This activity was developed by the Event-Based Science Institute with generous support from the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. A teacher version of this and all other baseball/math activities is available free from the Institute. This Time to Celebrate activity was written by Edward C. Nolan, mathematics teacher at Julius West Middle School, Rockville, MD..


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