‘Tis the season for making math fun. In the midst of holiday festivities, students can practice their math skills. As students incorporate math into their everyday routines, they understand the importance of learning math and complex math concepts become less intimidating and more comprehensible.
Math is all about practice. Incorporating math into daily activities will provide students with fresh, practical perspectives. Students will realize that math is an essential life skill.
There are endless activities to incorporate math into your holiday routines. Here are our top 4 suggestions.
1 – Cooking. On the most basic level, cooking involves a significant amount of math, including word problems, fractions, counting, and timing. Have students read recipes out loud and count the number of ingredients. Pick one measuring cup and have your students convert the amounts of ingredients using only that cup. Double the recipe and calculate the necessary ingredients. Half the recipe. Calculate cooking times and convert temperatures from Farenheit to Celsius. Calculate how different amounts will alter the cooking time. Calculate the costs of the ingredients.
2 – Following the weather. Holiday weather trends are always subject to scrutiny. Have your student look for weather patterns over the past five to 10 years, using math to figure out how many times it has snowed during the holiday season. Students can calculate the amount of snowfall over the last 12, 24, or 36 months.
3 – Gift buying. Buying presents on a budget? Have your student use math skills to add up how much the gift lists cost. Compare prices of gifts. How much did that Tonka truck cost in 1980 versus today? What is the difference between the old and new prices? Look at the prices for the same item in two different places and calculate any differences. Calculate shipping fees.
4 – Gift wrapping. Students can use math skills to measure wrapping paper, cut shapes, and wrap presents. For cooking, following the weather, and gift buying, students get a lot of practice manipulating numbers. With gift wrapping, students can use their basic geometry skills to fit paper onto different shaped items. Students can compute the volume of boxes. Using math, students can calculate the amount of wrapping paper that they have and the amount of wrapping paper that they need to wrap all of their holiday presents.
Throughout the season get creative and make sure that your students use math in many different ways. Weigh the Thanksgiving turkey before and after everyone is finished with Thanksgiving dinner. Count the chocolate coins that your student wins during the dreidel game. Count how many latkes you can make in one batch of oil. Make Christmas ornaments using different shapes. Count the ornaments hanging on your Christmas tree. Measure your tree. Measure the diameter of the tree. Count the presents given out every night of Hanukkah or on Christmas Eve. Count a bag of New Year’s Eve confetti.
Whatever you do, keep doing math throughout the holiday season. Keeping math alive will make going back to math class significantly easier in the new year.