Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Math

Luna, Doberman, Dog, ChristmasIts that time of the year when kids become distracted by the upcoming holidays.  The last couple of days before holidays can be difficult so why not take advantage of the season with Christmas math designed for older students.

I found a lovely website with all sorts of math problems including some fun holiday math.  Yummy Math actually has a whole bunch of interesting math but more about that later.

The first activity listed has to do with the most efficient way to wrap packages.  As a set up, the activity includes an article on this topic with an accompanying video. The activity focuses on using surface area and they Pythagorean Theorem.

Yummy Math is a paid site that allows people to access parts of the site for free but if you want the solutions you must join.  For this activity, I was able to access the worksheet but not the extensions.  However, the accompanying worksheet is great because it includes the URL for a video to be watched prior to doing the worksheet and all the instructions are set out step by step.

The second activity deals with estimating the number of 12 packs of soda that were used to create a Santa display.  One part of this activity helps students hone their number sense by looking at a picture and making guesses.  Then the class discusses which guesses are too large or too small.  I don't often have enough activities of this type to help develop number sense.  This activity comes with two additional pictures of Christmas items made of 12 packs of soda so students can practice this skill.

The final activity lists three popular movies and students are asked to decide which of the three movies made the most money.  This activity helps students learn to analyze real data.  Students are required to round, compare and create graphs.

Now for the rest of the site.  Yummy Math has problems for grades K to 12.  The high school material is divided into five different strands and each strand is further subdivided by type.  I clicked on Geometry, HSG and came up with 35 different results.  The first activity in this strand is based on the rescue of the Chilean Miners and students are required to run a variety of volume, surface area, and lateral surface area calculations all related to the rescue.

The calculations are based on the volume of the living area, the amount of ore in the escape tunnel, the lateral surface area of one of the shaft linings, and the chamber's depth under the surface of the earth.  Just think, math based on a real life event.  The same math, the rescuers would  have had to use!  I could even coordinate this activity with the social studies class so they can show the movie while my class does the accompanying activities!

Yesterday, I wrote that in addition to providing the what, we need to provide the why for learning math.  We have to give a reason and we have to make it relevant.  This does the job.  This activity gives students a good reason why it is important to know how to find volume, surface area, and lateral surface area.

I've got YummyMath bookmarked so I can find it again.  These activities do not have that contrived feel that others have.  Give the site a check and enjoy exploring it.  Right now, the home page has a ton of Christmas activities to share with your math classes.