Pre-Thanksgiving Day activities


We have a number of great activities for this time of year.

Delicious pumpkin pie – Estimation, proportional reasoning, fraction multiplication, delicious pie

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade – Describe, measure, calculate marching time, volumes of the giant balloons

Not enough mashed potatoes – Change fractions to decimals, generate ingredient measures for different sized Thanksgiving dinners, explain reasoning

Black Friday Deals – Calculate savings in percents and dollars.  Make a plan to save the most with limited time.

Consumer Spending – Analyze trends from graphs. Think, wonder, discuss.

How much should you spend on this sale? – Percents, step graphs, linear equations, linear programming

Thanksgiving means football…  Football

Rush or Pass? – Comparing points scored through rushing and passing and looking for correlations.

Home field advantage – reading graphic and analyzing whether there really is a home team advantage

Watson saves – Students watch one of the greatest NFL saves of all time and use the Pythagorean theorem to analyze the distances actually run.

Black Friday deals


When shopping next Friday, students will be able to add some understanding and analysis to the trip after calculating savings in dollars and percents with this timely investigation.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade


Mighty Morphin Power Ranger will be in this year’s Macy’s Day parade.

Students study a map of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, describe, measure and hypothesize why this route was chosen.   Then they calculate how long each band will be marching and what time they will arrive at the finish.

Students even approximate the volume of two parade balloons including Sponge Bob and last year’s new Wizard of Oz balloon. Very fun and very timely with lots of Common Core standards addressed.  Try the whole activity or any of the different tasks in the activity with your class.

Consumer Spending

Clicking on this image will show it larger in a new window.

Clicking on this image will show it larger in a new window.

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.

Not enough mashed potatoes

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes; Ina GartenUsing his famous mashed potato recipe, Brian has asked students

  • to change decimals to fractions,
  • to calculate ingredient measures for various-sized Thanksgiving gatherings,
  • to explain their thinking in calculating these figures
  • and to judge how many servings could be created from 7 ½ pounds of potatoes.

Rush or Pass?


Chris Johnson rushing and Tom Brady passing

With only 16 games in an NFL regular season every game and every play is crucial.  Teams need to win each week or jobs are on the line. To win you have to score points.  Points translate to wins. So how do teams score points?  Are they better off having a great passing game or a great rushing game? Take time to have small group and/or class discussions as to how we might answer this question.  After students have had time to put their own ideas forward have them consider the data that we have complied.  A sample of the data is below.  This chart gives the average team season totals in rushing yards, passing yards and points scored by season.  We have four scatter plots to be made and analyzed in this activity.  Consider breaking up the work into teams of students, having each team create one scatter plot.  Then host a whole class share or gallery walk.