Category: Holidays and Annual Events

Investigations that relate to regular annual events.

How many lights do I need for my tree?

Check out our Christmas Tree.  You 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?…

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…

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…

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…

Thanksgiving, football, Black Friday, and giving

4th down – should you punt kick or go for a field goal? This is two activities. One is on graph reading. This is perhaps suitable for younger students. The other activity is on data analysis and the creation of the chart shown…

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…

Veterans Day 2017

As Veterans Day approaches, let your students learn about and appreciate the meaning of the day by analyzing the powerful data that we’ve supplied. Students can use our numbers to create questions for their classmates … questions that can emphasize the tremendous gift…

Daylight saving time dilemma

Daylight Saving time is controversial, disruptive, useful, saves energy, increases energy consumption, is inconvenient …  Imagine locations where neighbors are differentiated by one or two hours and experiment with how the hours of those neighbors will be different. DaylightSavingTimeHours.pdf

Operation Gratitude – Halloween candy buy back

This is a great idea! Motivate kids to get rid of all of that candy for a good cause. Operation Gratitude and dentists are encouraging healthy eating, motivated giving, and offering a good use for all of that leftover candy.

Even more Halloween ideas – 12 tasks

How many houses can you get to – It’s Halloween. Time to trick or treat.  How long will it take you to get to all of these houses?  This is a very open-ended task, counting, trick or treating strategies, distance and more.…

Holiday candy sales

Which holidays are associated with candy? For which of those holidays is the most candy sold? What percents of annual candy sales does each holiday contribute? Consider using some independent think time, then small group discussion, then whole group discussion as…

How long will it take you to trick or treat?

It’s Halloween and this is your neighborhood. How long will it take you to trick or treat at every house in your neighborhood? Possible conversation with students: How long will it take you to get from house to house? You…

Ghost costume pattern

I’m going to make a costume pattern to sell.  People can buy my plan and make awesome, long, full, scary, ghost costumes.  This scheme will be so simple.  Perhaps I’ll get rich! In this activity young students can reason about…