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

12/16/20 – Pythagorean Triples

This would be a good date to play with Pythagorean Triples.

Pythagorean Triples and coloring - Pythagorean triples are not only handy for students to recognize but produce some interesting and lovely patterns.  We've combined a little coloring with our Pythagorean Triple pattern investigation to let your students relax while they color, view the beauty, and recognize the progression. 8.G.B, 7.G.B, HSG, 8.SP.A, HSS,HSA.APR.C.4

Spiraling Triples - Let students explore the patterns of perfect squares and Pythagorean Triples as they analyze our piece of art and decide why the resulting construction looks like spiraling squares. For a finale they color their own spiraling triple. 7.G, 7.EE.B, 8.G.B, 8.EE, HSF.BF, HSG, HSG.SRT.C, HSA.APR.C

Can you show that the Pythagorean Theorem works? - Use this activity to help your students work through the meaning of the Pythagorean theorem.  In this activity students work with a visual representation of the Pythagorean theorem in order to gain a true conceptual understanding. 6.G, 7.G, 8.G.6

December 21, 2020 – Great conjunction

Photo credit: Dr Ski; Valencia Observatory;    Garden, Philippines; April 30, 2020

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 close in the night sky.  On December 21st it will be hard to tell them apart.  They probably will appear to you as one, super bright star planet.  Why is that?

The activity: GreatConjunction.pdf

Wind chill

The weather forecasters tell us what the wind chill temperature will feel like. How do they figure out that number?

Dudley on a cold and windy day.

In this activity 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.  Also check out this windchill calculator, which you can use to quickly find the windchill for a given temperature and wind speed.

Hanukkah already?

Egad, Hanukkah begins this Thurday evening, December 10th. I think it was much later in December last year. Why isn't it always on the same date? 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.

The activity: hebrew-calendar2020.pdf

Holiday soda displays

The holidays are coming! We found these timely soda displays made up entirely of 12-pack of Coca-Cola products. What questions do you have?

Clicking on either image will show them larger in their own windows.

Start out the activity by giving kids 30 seconds to look at the picture and have them take a quick guess: How many twelve packs of soda make up the Santa or the Menorah?

Guess without calculating.

Come up with a reasonable range for the number of twelve packs.

Find numbers that are too high and too low.

Students in 3rd and 4th grade can focus on the picture in terms of area or arrays.