Christmas tree lights – How many do I need?

Check out our Christmas Tree.  You need to buy lights for the tree.  Without calculating, guess how many feet of lights you will need.plane-tree-800pxWhat information do you need to better estimate the number of feet of lights that you need? (Give students time to consider what info they have and what they need)

Giant macaroon nutcracker, revisited


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Each year the Boston Ballet highlights the holiday season with the Nutcracker ballet.  In 2014, the Boston Ritz Carlton Hotel's chef, Andrew Yeo and his pastry team, created a gorgeous and massive Nutcracker cake of macaroons and fondant to celebrate the event.  We have two activities about this amazing creation below.

First we have a traditional worksheet dealing with ratio, volume, surface area and ingredient quantities.  A second, 3-act activity is offered below the first.

Pick-a-brick wall at the Lego store

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There are walls at the Lego stores that are filled with individual Lego parts.  You can fill a bucket and pick out exactly what you need.

Use this PowerPoint activity to get your students conferring with each other, making guesses, and explaining their reasoning.  Students try to determine the number of Lego bins on this giant wall.  Students think about arrays and multiplication as they consider a reasonable quantity of Lego bins in this three-act task.

We have a PowerPoint presentation for all to use:  LegoWallActivity.pptx

For members we have a teaching suggestion and solution document.


CCSS: 3.OA.3, 4.NBT.5, 4.MD.3, 5.NBT.5

Special thanks to math teacher Megan Schmidt for snapping and sharing the pictures for this activity!









Consumer Spending 2016


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Graph from Wolfram Alpha

We spend a lot of money as consumers in the U.S. In this activity we look at historical data to see if there are any patterns in our spending.  How does our holiday spending show up in these graphs?  What accounts for spikes or drops in spending?  What patterns do you notice?  Which patterns will likely continue and which patterns won't?   Let the class see, think, wonder and discuss in this timely activity.

$10,000 a week or $10 million all at once?

Check out the video below:

Would you rather have $10,000 a week or $10 million all at once?

What kinds of things do we need to think about or factor in when making this decision? If you had to advise the winner of this drawing, what information would you need to help you determine what they should choose?

How does $10,000 compare to $10 million? Why is that important to consider in this problem?

How do life-expectancies, taxes and investments factor into this problem?

Black Friday, football, and giving

canstruction-ny-2010-Construction This is a 3-act activity about an annual display of creativity, engineering, and design as artists contribute cans of food for the shelters and food banks of their city.  Students analyze, look for patterns, discuss solutions, and finally quantify the number of cans. 4.MD.3, 6.EE.1, 5.MD.5, 7.G.6, HSF.LE.2, MP.2, MP.3, MP.7

Black Friday again (updated!) - Students calculate savings in Black-Friday-Deals1dollars and percents as they analyze this year's sales. 6.RP.3 , 7.EE.2, 7.EE3

Consumer Spending - Students look for patterns in an consumer-spending.jpghistorical view of the times of year tha we spend money. They look for spikes and drops in spending and hypothesize which trends will repeat and which movements are a one-time event. 6.SP.5, 8.F.5, HSS.IC.6, HSS.ID.3