Jolly Ideas to Celebrate the Holidays in Math

11 December 2015 / 1 comment

Happy Holidays everyone!  I'm Tonja from Smart Puppy Learning here to share a few of my favorite activities to do during math around the holidays.

Okay, so secret confession, despite the craziness that the holidays bring, they are some of my favorite times of the year.  Everything from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  Why you may ask? Well, because the inner Kindergarten teacher in me LOVES to do fun and CUTE activities.  I've been in third grade for going on three years now and well, there is a lot less time to bring in the cute because of all of the standardized testing requirements.  However, I find that from Thanksgiving to Christmas break I can get away with a little more fun.  I still want to make sure my kids are learning and engaged though, so I've developed some fun ways to teach my math concepts during this time of year.

I have already introduced perimeter in my class before I do this activity.  It truthfully would work any time of year, just change the gift wrap you use.  I take pieces of poster board, cut different shapes and wrap them in gift wrap (the cheap stuff from the dollar store works great)!

I place two "gift wrapped packages" at each group and rotate my students through and have them find the perimeter of the packages.

I had students draw their shape on the paper and then write the problem beside it on a blank sheet of paper rather than making a worksheet to go with it.  It was a quick and easy review that they really enjoyed and it kept them engaged.

If your admin is a stickler for rigor even during the holidays, this is a great activity to do in upper elementary.  I often have my students sort their word problems before they solve.  This gives them time to focus on choosing the right procedure rather than focusing so much on the computation.

You can create sorts out of ANY mixed practice word problems page that has addition, subtraction, multiplication and division on it.  To do this have students draw a tree map on a blank piece of paper like this:

However, around the holidays I spice it up for my kids and do one of the two following activities...

This is a sheet I have available in my TpT store.  Students sort the presents and place them under the correct holiday operation tree.  After they have sorted them, I check to make sure they picked the correct operation.  Once I check, then I allow them to solve.  This gives them a chance to go back and correct their answer before spending all the time on computation.  Another good way to use this paper is to have the students work in pairs.  As they work together they have to justify why they chose the operation they did using clues they have learned for picking the correct operation.

This is my students all time favorite right here.  I call it a headband sort.  I give my students each a sheet of light bulbs with word problems.

Students decide which operation to use and they write it in pencil on the base of the bulb (on the striped part you can see their operation in the picture above).  After students choose the operations we check them either whole class, in pairs, or I check over them (just depends on the particular group of children).  Then they solve the problems.  Each bulb is colored a specific color based on the operation used to solve it.  Students then make the headband and glue the bulbs and the title of the headband together.  If you would like to take it a step further there are also antlers with multiplication facts on them for students to solve as well.

As you can tell by the smile, my students had a great time making these!  If you would like to get either of these activities they can be located here in my store.

Thanks so much for stopping by and seeing a few ways I put a holiday spin on math in my classroom!  Wishing you a joyous season!

1 comment:

  1. I love the perimeter idea! I'm going to use that one when we get back from break. Thanks for sharing!


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