Category: Math and Science

At least the days are getting longer

What’s your guess?  How fast are the number of daylight hours changing each day?  Are the changes dramatic or subtle? Students make guesses; compute how long, on average, the change in daylight hours should be; and finally understand the variability in our year of daylight hours.

How much snow is that?

Start this activity with: What do you notice? What do you wonder? How many inches of snow produced that pile?  How much snow in volume is on top of the car?  How much could that snow weigh? Students try to approximate the…

Earth’s perihelion

On Saturday, January 2nd, 2021, 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…

The Times Square ball

It’s a gorgeous ball, covered with Waterford Crystal triangles, shaped as a geodesic icosahedron.  Every New Year’s Eve it descends in Times Square to mark the beginning of the new year.  Students can take a closer look at this construction…

Winter Holidays – 18 activities

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 the dimensions of…

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. Is latitude the central angle of the Earth? The activity: winter-solstice2020.pdf

December 21, 2020 – Great conjunction

Right now, just after sunset, in the southwest sky, you can check out the planets of Jupiter and Saturn as they get closer and closer to each other. They are millions of miles apart but they appear to be very…

Wind chill

Students use the National Weather System chart to gauge wind chill, examine the patterns that correlate increasing wind and/or decreasing temperatures, use wind chill numbers to estimate possible wind and temperature factors, and generally become familiar with this sort of interpolation and calculation.

Hanukkah already?

3 Hanukkah activities; the amazing Hebrew calendar, soda menorah, and potato latkes. In the calendar activity, students look at the Hebrew calendar and appreciate the incredible mathematics involved in creating a calendar that aligns both the moon’s revolution about the Earth and the Earth’s revolution about the Sun.

Vampire Bats

Ooooo. Scary!  This is a slightly didactic activity on vampire bats.  We’ve given lots of interesting metric and customary unit facts and asked students to relate those sizes to more familiar objects.  Simply enjoy the season with this slightly creepy activity…

Fall Equinox 2020

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 13:30 UTC (which is the same as 9:30 am EST), will be the Autumnal Equinox.  It is the time of year when the imaginary plane that passes through the Earth’s Equator would also travel through the…

Extreme weather 2020

Use the open number line and our lists of temperature extremes to make signed number operations and absolute value sensible. Students compare record high and low temps (integers) and use absolute value in order to always find the positive difference. Subtraction of negatives becomes obvious in this lesson.

How big is this hornet really?

Giant hornets have now migrated to North America. In this activity students take the hornet’s measurements in millimeters and try to draw the hornet, life-sized, on centimeter graph paper. They learn a little more about the new beast.