The Princess and the Pizza – Literature Unit

I create our literature units to bring excitement and fun to learning math, to enrich our reading experience, and to have something fun to do with our books.  I discovered that children’s books offer great opportunities to learn about history, math, science, geography, human relations, and of course, language arts.  I find that literature units are fun for me and for kids and even though they are learning so much it doesn’t feel like “school.”  Each unit may contain some of the following: math problems, comprehension questions, art projects, vocabulary building exercises, trivia about things mentioned in the book, connect the dots, mystery pictures, story related activities, field trips suggestions and more.

I developed this unit based on my kids ages (4 and 6) and their learning needs.  For example, currently my 4-year old has difficulties with number 7, so the math calculations included in this unit often involve number 7. You can adapt it to your kids, as you see fit.  It’s available to you as a Free Printable at the end of this post.

The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herm Auch  

Summary: Princess Paulina is funny and quick-witted.  At the start of the story she thinks she wants to marry a prince and become a full time princess, but a few life changing experiences convince her that she would rather pursue other goals in life.    

1.  Comprehension Questions

2. Vocabulary

3. Basic Math calculations

4. Skip Counting

5. Science Connection
In this book we have three interesting science topics to
discuss.  (1) Experiment and Discovery
(2) Physical Changes and (3) Chemical Changes
Experiment and Discovery
Princess Paulina discovered pizza by accident.  Many famous scientific discoveries happened
in the same way.   Scottish biologist Alexander
discovered penicillin (a group of antibiotics used to combat
powerful bacteria) due to dirty dishes.  Percy
walked in front of vacuum tube used to generate microwaves with
a chocolate in his pocket and noticed that chocolate melted, and so microwave
was born.  
Physical Changes and Chemical Changes
Physical changes are different from chemical changes, but I think these subjects are a bit too complex to go into at this early age.  So for now discussion can be limited to simple things.  Start by asking:  How
does the raw dough taste?  How does the
cooked pizza dough taste?  Is there a
difference?  Which one is tastier?  How does cooking change meat?  How does heat change a pancake? 
There are a number of
interesting, easily observable changes involved in the process of making pizza.
1.  New substance is made: e.g Pizza crust out of pizza dough
2.  The process is irreversible: Can you turn cooked pizza back
into its initial ingredients?
3.  Visible change takes place as heat is applied to pizza ingredients: Crust turns golden as it cooks, the cells in vegetables break down and they become softer, cheese changes it’s form and becomes liquid, it might brown on top, if meat is used it becomes smaller (as water evaporates) and changes color (as protein in mean reacts to heat).  
6. Art – Design your own Paper Pizza

Materials: Piece of paper, crayons, markers, glitter,

Ask kids to draw a circle (the best they can).  This is their pizza.  Ask the kids to draw a line from top to
bottom of the pizza to divide it in half. 
Count how many parts of pizza they have. 
Ask the kids to draw a line inside the pizza circle from left to
write.   Count how many pieces of pizza they
have now.  Now ask the kids to divide
each quarter into half diagonally.  Count
the number of slices.  Eight!  Now they can use crayons, markers, and
glitter to design their silly, goofy pizza.  What are they going to put first, second, third, last (practicing ordinal numbering of steps).  Give them scissors to cut the pizza out. 
 Now ask them to cut out
individual slices.  (Whole versus
individual slices) Can they put the pizza back together?  Finish with the pizza party and encourage them to share slices with their friends.  

7.  Make a Real Pizza

Pizza may very well be the most popular food among children.  And it’s fun to make together.

1.  Before you begin making pizza ask the kids: What does pizza look like?  What does it smell like?  How does it feel under the fingers?

2.  Mention the history of pizza – The flat
bread, the grandfather of pizza, was invented in ancient Egypt.  But the version of pizza that we know today,
with tomatoes and toppings, was invented in Italy (in Naples).  The first known pizza store was opened in

3.  Let’s make pizza!  I would suggest making dough ahead of time unless you want to make it by hand together.  When pizza is ready to be assembled gather your ingredients.  Ask: how can we make pizza?  Where do we start?  What do we do first?  Then? Second? 
Third?  After? What do we do last?

I will post our recipe later in the week!

The Princess and the Pizza Literature Unit Printables

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