Activities for the Holiday break

New Year's Eve's 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 take a closer look at this construction and use our drawings to experiment with slicing an icosahedron in order to discover how this shape is formed.


Games are great during the break.

Where should I drop my puck - (3-act activity) Students study our penguin peg board and decide which slot has the greatest potential to score big points? They also find the number of paths from each top slot.

Games with dice - Students calculate the probability of different sums when rolling dice. They look at how the theoretical outcomes compare with the experimental tallies of their dice throws and consider how the sample size affects the closeness of these two probabilities.

Before the holidays activities (19 ideas)

 ChefAndrewYeo&nutcrackerGiant Macaroon Nutcracker - In 2013, Chef Andrew Yeo, built a giant macaroon nutcracker in a Boston hotel using given amounts of ingredients. Students try to figure out how much of each ingredient I will need to make a similar but much smaller macaroon nutcracker. 3.MD, MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, 6.RP.3, 7.G.1, 7.G.6, HSG.MG.A.1

The growth of a snowflake - In this activity, students interpret a graphic that clarifies that growth and try to deduce what conditions various flakes moved through as they fell. 6.G.A, 7.G, 8.G, HSF, HSG.CO, MP1

Will one roll be enough?

Students can use the man or the basket as a reference as they try to approximate the size of these gifts and how much wrapping paper will actually be needed. Approximation, surface area, reasoning explanation, and diagraming!

An X-box is added to the mix and students are given the size of roll of wrapping paper.  Do they have enough?

Holiday shipping

Now that the shopping season has begun, it's time to get the packages to your homes.  Two big companies take care of a lot of that shipping.  How do they manage that?

The mechanisms for these two shipping giants are huge. Did you ever wonder how they pull it off?  To me they both seem to do a great job.  Is that consistently true.  What are the numbers like?

(Teachers might start this lesson by asking kids to predict what percent of holiday gifts are delivered on time and what percent are not?)

What can you tell about a snowflake?

Clicking on this image will show it larger in a new window.

As a snowflake falls from the sky, its crystal grows according to the humidity and temperatures of the air that it passes through.

In this activity, students interpret a graphic that clarifies that growth and try to deduce what conditions various flakes moved through as they fell.

The activity finishes with the creation of a possibly accurate, six-pointed paper snowflake. These could be winter decorations for your classroom.

The activity: Snowflakes.pdf