Category: Math and Social Studies

How should I spend my rewards?

For every dollar that you spend, you accumulate points.  You can cash them in for savings on groceries, apply them to your gasoline purchases, or even use them to give to a food kitchen. If you are going to use them for gasoline or groceries, which way gets you the best deal?

Lunar New Year 2021 – Year of the Ox

Celebrated by 1/4th of the world’s population, Lunar New Year begins on Friday, February 12th. This will be the year of the Metal Ox.  The year’s name is a combination of 10 Heavenly Stems and 12 Earthly Branches creating a…

Lots of pieces

Brian has a lot of puzzles.  His family must love working on them. What do you wonder about his puzzles? What do you notice? Make an educated guess, about how many pieces are in all of these puzzles?  Can you…

Powerball & MegaMillion Probability

Powerball and MegaMillion jackpots are growing all the time.  Having a terrible chance of winning nearly a BILLION dollars might be a context that engages your students.   Examine compound probability to decide if playing Powerball is worth it.  As part…

Martin Luther King, Jr and social justice

We have 6 activities on Martin Luther King and the movement to a more fair and equal representation of Black lives in America. A timeline of KIng’s life; a timeline of the social justice movement; the history of Jackie Robinson; data on which monuments in the National Mall are most visited; a study of crowd counting; and an examination of the recent changes in the Bears Ears Monument size and the reasons for that change.

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…

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.


Just before Thanksgiving there are competitions all over the world to celebrate cool design, tricky engineering, and to donate a whole lot of food. How many cans does it take to build this structure?  What information do you need to determine this?  How did you determine your solution? What else did you notice that is mathematical?

Veterans Day 2020

Here are two very different maps about where Veterans live in the U.S. and which states have the largest density of Veterans citizens. What do these two maps make you wonder or realize? How can you explain their comparison?

Ravensburger huge puzzle

Students surmise what the difficulty of a jig saw puzzle entails and use rate calculations to estimate finishing times. They try to confirm whether doubling the number of pieces really increases puzzle completion time by a multiple of four.

5 Election activities

Is the Electoral College vote similar to the Popular vote?  The winner of the Presidential Popular vote (November 3, 2020) is not always the same as the winner of the Electoral College vote (January 6, 2020). In this activity students…