Winter and holiday posts (14 16 great activities)

Winter Solstice - Students appreciate how their latitude effects the darkness of their late afternoon location as they study the earth's tilt and the logic of daylight hours. 7.G.3, HSG.C, HSG.GMD.4, HSG.MG.1 -  Updated for 2018!

Soda Santa - First students guess too high and too low.  Then they calculate with all different methods and explain their reasoning.  Areas, arrays ... so many ways to focus this activity.  3.MD.5, 3.MD.6, 3.MD.7, 4.NBT.5, 5.NBT.5, 7.SP.5, 7.SP.7a

ChefAndrewYeo&nutcrackerGiant Macaroon Nutcracker - In 2013, Chef Andrew Yeo, built a giant macaroon nutcracker in a Boston hotel using given amounts of ingredients. Students try to figure out how much of each ingredient I will need to make a similar but much smaller macaroon nutcracker. 3.MD, MP.1, MP.2, MP.3, MP.4, 6.RP.3, 7.G.1, 7.G.6, HSG.MG.A.1

How many lights should I buy for my tree?

plane-tree-800px

Check out our Christmas Tree.  We need to buy lights for the tree.  Without calculating, guess how many feet of lights you will need. What 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)

Activity is here for your class:  ChristmasTree.pdf

Wrapping presents on the diagonal

Dr. Sara Santos is a popular mathematician and speaker on mathematics.  She has worked out a method for wrapping boxes (rectangular prisms) as efficiently as possible. (Watch the video above)  Her method was written up in this article in Mental Floss and she was interviewed about her wrapping paper method in this video clip from The One Show.

In this activity students determine if this method for minimizing wrapping paper is actually more efficient then the traditional method.   For a hands on learning experiment, have students actually wrap a small rectangular prism using any available paper in both the traditional and diagonal methods. Then let them compare the two quantities of wrapping paper and decide which method uses less paper and by what percent.

Do I have enough wrapping paper?

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I have to wrap this box.        

In this problem based activity students first guess and then try to calculate whether they will have enough paper to wrap this present without taping pieces of wrapping paper together.

wrapping paper

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...with this wrapping paper ...