Math and Science

Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17th

Green, green river – They’re doing it again. In Chicago, the local plumbers union “dye” the Chicago River emerald green.  Students learn what PPM (parts per million) means and  attempt to figure out how much dye is used to sufficiently color…

New baby giraffe

Willow weighed 125 pounds at birth and was 6 feet 1 inch tall.  She will grow to her adult height of around 14 feet tall in only four years! How big would you be if you grew at her rate…

Will this be a leap year?

Will we have a 29th of February this year?  How can you tell? Students work with a flow chart to deduce what years are going to be leap years.  They learn about the exact measurement of a solar year and…

Valentine’s Day activities

Chocolate-raspberry heart-shaped cake – Students build a heart cake and use ratio information to find the quantities of cake and icing resulting from increased dimensions. A parametric heart … with love – Students use unit triangles and manually calculate sine and cosine…

At least the days are getting longer

What’s your guess as to how fast the number of daylight hours will change each day from now until June 21st?  Will the changes be dramatic? Will the lengthening days be only a subtle change? Students make guesses; compute how…

Earth’s Perihelion

On Wednesday, January 4, 2017, 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…

Times Square New Year’s Eve ball drop

On Saturday evening, December 31st, 2016 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…

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…

Dark days – Winter solstice

This year’s winter solstice will be at 5:44 AM EST on December 21st  (10:44 UTC December 21, 2016). In this geometry/Earth science investigation, we’ve asked students to question the Earth’s latitudinal divisions, recognize its tilt, and appreciate the relationship of these…

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.…

Columbus and navigation

The Niña Columbus Day is a bit of an enigma that used to be celebrated all through the Americas.  Columbus’s mission and arrival are now thought to have not been a noble endeavor in the way that indigenous people were treated.  Now,…

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…

Fall equinox

Thursday, September 22nd of this year will be the Autumnal Equinox.  It is the time of year when the imaginary plane that might pass through the Earth’s Equator would also travel through the center of the Sun.  At this auspicious…

Swimsuits – a drag?

To win in Olympic swimming, contestants have to be incredibly fit and have marvelous endurance and technique.  Do they also need to consider the science of their motions and their equipment? Could your swimsuit, swim cap and goggles be holding…