Monday, October 31, 2016

Real Halloween Math

Pumpkins, Hokkaido, Autumn, October As a high school math teacher, when I look for Halloween math, I am not looking for those problems that are just regular problems with pumpkins.  I want something more real.  Something like "You grew a pumpkin that weighed in at 1810 lbs and someone offered to buy it for $0.23 per lb.  How much money is it worth?"

In that vein, I discovered a lovely article on Smarties, a candy we all grew up with.  The level of this material is actually geared for elementary students but if you work with students who are ELL or who are below level, this is great.  It begins with a link to a You tube video which takes everyone on a tour of the manufacturing facility.  There is also a nice 2 page article on the manufacturing process.  The level of reading is perfect for my lower level Algebra I students.  It concludes with a nice worksheet on Powers of 10 which is an area that some of my students are weak in.

Yummy Math has a lovely worksheet designed to have students calculate how long it will take them to cover the whole neighborhood.  It is a very realistic task for most students but in small Alaskan villages, we don't always have streets or neighborhoods like these.  I might adjust this one using a small map of the village itself so as to make it  easier for my students to relate to.

This site also has an activity for students to calculate the volume of a variety of bags and other containers to see which one is best to use to collect candy.  That is one my students will go for and love doing it.  There is another that has students look at a variety of packages of candy.  They need to decide which is the best deal and the worst deal.  Comparison shopping which is something my students do not know how to do because of the having only one store in town.

There are several other activities which are awesome including several on things like if a restaurant is going to raise a million dollars on Halloween, can they actually do it based on certain things or how many pies will a giant pumpkin make, or interpreting graphs on Halloween candy sold.  Real life examples of math associated with Halloween.  Yes!

I know what I'm doing on Wednesday when I have my world problem day.  Have a good day and Happy Halloween.