Wharton School and CKSF Deliver Pizza

November 22, 2013 ·

We are Team We Deliver, a team of ten Wharton freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania, enrolled in Management 100. In this course, each team is expected to carry out a consulting project for a client throughout the semester. Our first task in this course was to pick a project. After hearing Daryl’s presentation about CKSF, our team knew that the Pizza Math program would be our first choice. We were lucky enough to get our first choice project, since many of the other teams wanted to do Pizza Math too. The Pizza Math program goes like this: we go into local schools, administer online math quizzes, and reward kids with donated pizza.

We set out to work, finding schools in the Philadelphia community that would be willing to cooperate with us for Pizza Math. We contacted twenty-three schools in the area via email and phone, specifically targeting math teachers and 5th, 6th, and 7th grade teachers. We eventually committed five teachers from Independence Charter School.

Next, we set out to write quizzes for those classrooms. Colin and Danny researched Common Core standards, and Emily and Will asked the teachers about their individual classroom curriculums. Taking those into account, we tried to make our questions as relevant as possible. Plus, we had the task of making the questions funny and engaging too. To college students who reminisce of our elementary school days when we used to (and still!) listen to Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, we were easily entertained by the question making process, especially Jeehae, who is a child at heart. To show you what we mean, here’s a 5th grade question Nikita wrote:

One Direction bought 30 pizzas. The 5 members want to split the pizzas. How many pizzas does each member get?

A) 12

B) 24

C) 9

D) 6

The hardest part of this was definitely coming up with the “right” wrong answer: the answers that would have been right if the student misread the question. We knew that students would accidentally multiply when they were supposed to divide, or maybe skim over words like “How many pizzas each?”. How could we make the questions tricky, but not too tricky?  

Meanwhile, Chris, Shannon, Franklin, and Dhruv were off securing pizza sponsors donate to the rewards for Pizza Math. When we pitched our idea to the pizza shop proprietors, we attempted to appeal to the owners’ self interest by explaining how they could increase their publicity to kids and teachers. However, this led to reluctant responses. Shifting gears, we adjusted our pitch to appeal to proprietors’ civic duty, stressing the community-boosting aspects of CKSF’s endeavors. Since many of the pizza shops near Independence Charter School are small businesses who are well integrated into their community, we see now why this strategy was the best.

Finally, it came time for us to implement Pizza Math with the Independence Charter School. We ended up implementing Pizza Math thirteen times, across three grades and ten classrooms. If you’re doing the math, you’ll notice that there were three repeat implementations, with teachers asking us to come back! The receptionists at the schools even stopped asking why we were bringing kids pizza at 1:00pm, right after their lunch hour-- “Pizza Math again?”

Seeing the students actually excited to take part in this program that we had created especially for them was the best part of Pizza Math. Students would greet us in the halls by name, asking us when we were coming back to their classroom. When Emily and Shannon went to implement Pizza Math in a classroom, one student stopped them in the halls, asking Emily, “Where’s Dhruv?” since Dhruv and Emily were at the school the week before! Shannon didn’t take it too personally.

5th grader Donovan said that he would do the program again because he “liked multiplication.” 6th grader Josephine called us “traitors” when she caught us red-handed with pizza, implementing Pizza Math with her class’ rival classroom. But all was well when we returned the next week to repeat Pizza Math with her class. Even though the program motivated the kids to see math in a different light, we still liked talking to them about high school, college, and Penn after the quizzes were done

Working with CKSF has been an extremely rewarding journey for Will, Danny, Franklin, Emily, Dhruv, Chris, Jeehae, Nikita, Shannon, and Colin -- every member of Team We Deliver. We’ve not only learned how to effectively work together as a team, but we’ve also learned how to take an unconventional approach to a conventional subject. Even though math is still math at the end of the day, our team really feels like we made a difference in these kids’ lives. Being able to see the students’ excitement for Pizza Math has continually inspired Team We Deliver to deliver.

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