Christmas tree lights - Students first guess how many feet of lights would be required to decorate this tree. The class finds the mean and median of those guesses. Then they brainstorm and refine their guesses. Lastly they figure out how large a tree would require 1,000 feet of lights. HSG.MG.A.1, MP.1, MP.2, MP.3, MP.4

Holiday movies - Students compare the highest grossing Holiday movies of all time. Rounding, fractions, percents, and choosing the most appropriate graph. 4.OA.3, 4.NBT.3, 6.SP.4, 6.SP.5d

Do I have enough wrapping paper? - Students estimate the size of a gift and decide if the given wrapping paper is going to be enough. Finally they try to create a rule for determining enough wrapping paper from a present's dimensions. 6.EE.A, 6.G.1, 6.G.4, 6.G.A, 7.EE.B, 7.G.6, 7.G.B, HSG.MG.A.3, MP5

Wrapping presents on the diagonal - Dr. Sara Santos has figured out the most efficient way to wrap presents with no waste. Why does this work? Let students wrap packages in class traditionally and this new way to encourage conversation and analysis. 7.G.6, 8.G.7, HSG.SRT.C.8, HSG.MG.A.3, MP3, MP4

Why do the dates of Hanukkah keep changing? - December 12th, is the first night of Hanukkah this year. I think it was much later in December last year. Why isn't it always on the same date? Students look at the Hebrew calendar and appreciate the incredible mathematics involved in creating a calendar that aligns both the moon's rotation about the Earth and the Earth's rotation about the Sun.

Giant 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

Its almost latke time - Students compare the healthiness of the ingredients of this traditional Hanukkah treat using my mom's old recipe and a more modern recipe that boasts of low fat and low salt. 6.RP.A, 7.RP.A, MP.6, MP.8

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

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

Soda Menorah - Guess without counting. Come up with a reasonable range for the number of twelve packs = guesses that are too high and too low. 3.MD.5, 3.MD.6, 3.MD.7, 4.NBT.5 , 5.NBT.5 , 7.SP.5 , 7.SP.7a

Consumer spending - Students analyze a graph of historic consumer spending and look for consistent spikes and drops as they try to evaluate what they are looking at. 6.SP.5, 8.F.5, HSS.IC.6, HSS.ID.3

Holiday candy sales - Students consider which holidays contribute to the highest dollar amount of candy sales. They then translate a pie chart of data to actual dollars spent on candy. 6.RP.3 , 7.RP.3 7.EE.3

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