Author: Leslie

Days are getting longer

What’s your guess?  How fast are the number of daylight hours changing each day?  Will the changes be dramatic or subtle? Students make guesses; compute how long, on average, the change in daylight hours should be; play with a cool…

Wind chill

When the weather person talks about wind chill did you ever wonder how they calculate that number?  In this activity students use the National Weather System chart to gauge wind chill, examine the patterns that correlate increasing wind and/or decreasing…

Earth’s perihelion

On Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018, Earth will be as close as it gets to the Sun during its orbit. Shouldn’t that make this the warmest time of the year? In this activity students become familiar with the terms perihelion and aphelion as they calculate…

New Year’s Eve ball drop

On Saturday evening, December 31st, 2017 at 12:59 pm, much of the world will be watching the iconic Times Square Tower’s New Year’s Eve ball drop 141 feet to the roof of the One Times Square Building in Manhattan, NY.  This…

Winter holiday activities (13 ideas!)

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…

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…

The Star Wars phenomena continues

The Last Jedi (most recent Star Wars film) will open this weekend.  How much did it cost to make?  How much will it gross? Is the Star Wars phenomena a guarantee for success?  How would you compare these movies? We’ve…

Why are the dates of Hanukkah different every year?

Tuesday evening, 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…

It gets dark so early now

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. Is latitude the central angle of the Earth? The activity: winter-solstice2017.pdf

Spiraling triples

Let students explore the patterns of perfect squares and Pythagorean Triples as they analyze our piece of art and decide why the resulting construction looks like spiraling squares. For a finale they color their own spiraling triple. The activity: SpiralingTriples-activity.pdf

Shipping Crunch

Now that the shopping season has begun, it’s time to get the packages to your homes.  Two big companies take care of a lot of that shipping.  How do they manage that? The mechanisms for these two shipping giants are…

Black Friday

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.

How should I cook my turkey?

Should I oven bake it, deep fry it or barbecue and smoke it?  When do I have to wake up to begin preparations? How long will the cooking take?  How much will it cost?  How many can I feed?  Will there…

Macy’s 2017 parade

As we get ready for next week’s holiday, students can study a map of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, describe, measure and hypothesize why this route was chosen and then calculate how long each band will be marching and…

Canstruction

Act One:  Take a look at the pic. What questions come to mind? Just before Thanksgiving there is an annual demonstration at the Winter Palace in the World Financial Center of New York City.   Canstruction is a celebration of…