Number Sense

Data on the National Mall sites

Activity #1 – Look at the individuals who are memorialized on the National Mall and using fractions or percents decide what you can notice about those we honor.  If you would like to show images of the monuments and memorials to…

Comparing the Star Wars movies

We were curious about how often and how profitable the Star Wars movies have been.  The Force Awakens is still breaking previous record sales and has recently topped Avatar in all time success. So we gathered data on each Star…

How Many Pennies did Otha Save?

Otha Anders used picking up pennies as a way to remember to pray.  In this 3-act activity we try to estimate how much he actually collected and stored in 5 gallon water jugs.  Kick off the activity with the article with…

The Times Square Ball

On Thursday evening, December 31st, 2015 at 12:59 pm, much of the world will be watching the iconic Times Square Tower’s New Year’s Eve ball drop 77 feet to the roof of the One Times Square Building in Manhattan, NY.…

Winter holidays

Christmas tree lights – Students first guess how many 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 large a…

Saving wrapping paper

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…

Hexadecimal colors or paint by number

Probably most of us have heard of and even used hexadecimal color codes. Don’t you wonder why their number descriptions really make sense? In this activity we first ask students to color in our Golden Spiral by giving them the…

Soda Menorah

Happy Holidays! This Soda Menorah was on display in a Florida Target store.  It is made up entirely of 12-packs of Coca-Cola products. What questions do you have? Start out the activity by giving kids 30 seconds to look at…

Why does the date of Hanukkah keep changing?

Just updated for 2016! Saturday evening, December 24th, is the first night of Hanukkah this year. I think it was much earlier in December last year. Why isn’t it always on the same date? Students look at the Hebrew calendar…

Stress reducing coloring and Fibonacci

Have you seen the new coloring books? I think they can be beautiful.  Evidently people who like to multitask can find a means of calming their energies and reach a peaceful place by simply coloring designs.  Coloring in these drawings allows…

Pre-Thanksgiving activity ideas

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade – Students study a map of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, describe, measure and hypothesize why this route was chosen. Then they calculate how long each band will be marching and what time they will arrive at…

Not enough mashed potatoes

Using his famous mashed potato recipe, Brian has asked students to change decimals to fractions, to calculate ingredient measures for various-sized Thanksgiving gatherings, to explain their thinking in calculating these figures and to judge how many servings could be created…

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…