Will I pay less if I buy more?

This activity can be used in a large range of grade levels.  Your class can work on percents, linear equations or piecewise functions.

Act One: We missed the semi-annual sale but we want to get ready for the next one.  Let's figure out how much we could save.What questions do you have?

Starbucks sales and nutrition

Updated!  It's a good time to give students some authentic math on a topic they probably will be interested in ... Starbucks beverages.  We ask and answer a few questions in this activity.

  • About how many drinks does Starbucks sell in a year?
  • If I want to be health conscious, are there drinks that are healthier or less healthy for me to choose?
  • How much does the type of milk or whether or not I add whipped cream to my drink really matter?

Hanukkah is almost here! – 3 activities

Potato Latkes - updated for 2022 - Little potato pancakes are a traditional food for Hanukkah celebrations. In my mom's recipe, they are salty, deep fried, and delicious. In modern latke recipes the salt and fat are decreased. How do the two recipes compare? 6.RP.A, 7.RP.A, MP6, MP8
Hanukkah is almost here - updated for 2023 - Hanukkah begins on Thursday evening, December 7th. Students appreciate the incredible mathematics involved in creating a calendar (Hebrew calendar) that aligns both the moon's revolution about the Earth and the Earth's revolution about the Sun. 5.NBT, 5.OA, 6.SP, 8.SP, S-IC

Holiday Soda Displays - We found creative soda displays made up of 6-packs of Coca Cola products. Ask students to guess the quantity without counting. Come up with a reasonable range for the number of twelve packs. Find numbers that are too high and too low. 3.MD, 4.NBT, 5.NBT, 7.SP

And also 3 activities on Wrapping presents.

What does my wreath symbolize?

We think that this is a very good time to wish for peace.  Above is a picture of the wreath that I made for this winter's season.  Do you know this symbol?  Where did it originate?  Do you ever use a different symbol for peace (for instance, sideways "V"s)?

In this activity students learn about the semaphore flag symbols and how this peace symbol was first designed. They design their own symbol and try to figure out how many possibilities there are in this kind of communication.

The activity: PeaceSymbol.pdf

Thanksgiving, football, shopping and giving

barbecued-smoked-turkeyHow should I cook my turkey? - Students judge timing, cost, tastiness, and quantity necessary as they plan for the feast. 4.MD, 5.NBT, 4.MD, 6.RP, 6.NS, 7.NS +  Great video on a deep frying fire with William Shatner.

Shopping season already! - Students will be able to add some understanding and analysis to holiday shopping trips after calculating savings in dollars and percents with this timely investigation. 6.RP, 7.EE, 7.EE

Not enough mashed potatoes - Use Brian's famous mashed potatoes recipe to practice changing decimals to fractions; calculating ingredient measure for various-sized Thanksgiving servings; have students explain their reasoning; and to have students figure out how many servings 7½ pounds of potatoes would make. 5.NF, 6.RP, 7.RP

Consumer Spending 2023

Just updated!

Clicking on this image will open it larger in a new page.

Consumers in the U.S. spend a lot of money. 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.