Geometry

Super Bowl cheesy pretzel poppers

… A little more delicious work for the Super Bowl.  Students follow a recipe that involves “cutting the cheese” block, figuring how many servings, estimating how many times they need to multiply the recipe by to make enough pretzel bites, and…

Civil rights marches, how do you count a crowd?

On October 16, 1995, perhaps a million black men gathered for the Million Man March on Washington.  This was 32 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his historic “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial to 250,000 civil…

Pre-winter holiday activities!

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…

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…

Do I have enough wrapping paper?

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. …with this wrapping paper …

What’s wrong with this picture?

We’ve gotten used to believing what we read or see advertised.  But sometimes the clerk doesn’t get the sales discount right or something seems a little off.  Let students ponder this store menu and see if they can figure out…

Christmas tree lights – How many do I need?

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?…

Giant macaroon nutcracker, revisited

Each year the Boston Ballet highlights the holiday season with the Nutcracker ballet.  In 2014, the Boston Ritz Carlton Hotel’s chef, Andrew Yeo and his pastry team, created a gorgeous and massive Nutcracker cake of macaroons and fondant to celebrate the…

Pick-a-brick wall at the Lego store

There are walls at the Lego stores that are filled with individual Lego parts.  You can fill a bucket and pick out exactly what you need. Use this PowerPoint activity to get your students conferring with each other, making guesses,…

Black Friday, football, and giving

Construction This is a 3-act activity about an annual display of creativity, engineering, and design as artists contribute cans of food for the shelters and food banks of their city.  Students analyze, look for patterns, discuss solutions, and finally quantify the number…

Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade, 2016

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…

Shrinking Toblerone

They changed it.  That is so not fair … or is it? You can check out a video news story on the delicious shrinking Toblerone bar here. Two sizes of Toblerone bars are now configured differently.  How much did they…

Halloween tricks and treats – 13 activities

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.…

Collecting the most candy!

Use your student’s Halloween enthusiasm to do a study on volumes.  We’ve created an activity that asks students to calculate the volume of candy containers that are silly and intriguing.  Skip the cone and the sphere to make this activity…

Steepness and fall hiking

Fall is a beautiful time of year for hiking. Many students will be walking in the woods and mountains to enjoy the colorful leaves and the cool weather outside.  Let them combine what they are doing with their families and…