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. 7.G.3, HSG.C, HSG.GMD.4, HSG.MG.1 - Updated for 2018!
Soda Santa - First students guess too high and too low. Then they calculate with all different methods and explain their reasoning. Areas, arrays ... so many ways to focus this activity. 3.MD.5, 3.MD.6, 3.MD.7, 4.NBT.5, 5.NBT.5, 7.SP.5, 7.SP.7a
Check out our Christmas Tree. We 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? (Give students time to consider what info they have and what they need)
In this activity students determine if this method for minimizing wrapping paper is actually more efficient then the traditional method. For a hands on learning experiment, have students actually wrap a small rectangular prism using any available paper in both the traditional and diagonal methods. Then let them compare the two quantities of wrapping paper and decide which method uses less paper and by what percent.
Recently scientists in the UK and Australia did a study for the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health to verify the time it takes for a small plastic object (Lego head) to pass through one's digestive system and be expelled. The group annotated the study with humor. We think students will easily love and share this math.