Are you getting ready for the holidays? You can still fit in some family math into your busy schedule. There's something here for all ages!
Holiday Calorie Count
Are you eating more than normal? I know I eat more chocolate over the holidays!
Try tracking what you eat and your activities for the day, charting the calories consumed and burned. This requires both measuring and arithmetic.
Demonstrate your results on a bar graph. This is a great time to also discuss nutrition and health. Do candy canes count as a red vegetable?
Take your favorite recipe, double it, convert it to metric and use only a teaspoon and ¼ cup to measure. Use an oven thermometer to compare the actual temperature to the stove setting. Convert this to Celsius. Or be extra crazy for math and change the ingredient amounts into math questions! By the way, how long does it take a turkey to cook in seconds?
Check out this great site with Gingerbread Man Math Activities!
Get everyone to prepare a shopping budget and stick to it! Teach the kids how to use a spreadsheet. Compare your actual expenditures with your budget at the end.
How many Christmas lights are on your house? How many extra watts of power are they using? How about your street, the neighborhood, your city, the world?
- How much energy and money can a community save by switching to LED lights?
- How Christmas Lights Work
Count down and chart the days, minutes and seconds till the big day. Make up your own advent calendar. Have older kids include minutes and seconds.
Have your tape measure handy to measure the dimensions of the package. How much wrapping paper will you need? Try estimating. Make your own wrapping paper using tessellations!
Christmas Trees and Snowflakes
Explore symmetry and fractals through snowflakes and Christmas trees. Create your own decorations. Don't forget to measure the height of your Christmas tree using trigonometry!
- Snowflake Photographs
- Snowflake Math Lesson
- Snowflake Creator
- Paper Snowflake Instructions
- Fractals in Snowflakes
- How Tall is That Tree?
Make up your own Christmas card puzzles in cryptarithm. Decorate the cover with a tangram candle, dove or other thematic creation.
- What is cryptarithm?
- Christmas Puzzle using cryptaritm
- Tangram Game to Practice
- Tangram Template to Print
- More Tangram Ideas
Ornaments and Decorations
Construct your own polyhedral paper ornaments for the tree. Create patterns as you string popcorn and cranberries to decorate the tree. Make a Christmas paper chain with a math fact on each loop!
This is a great exercise in geography, distance, speed and times zones.
Check out how far Santa has to travel. You may even need Pi!
Compare portion's of Santa's trip on your globe with a map using Mercator projection.
Where does Santa live?
- How far is it to the North Pole?
- Take a virtual expedition to the North Pole
- How cold is it at the North Pole?
What's the temperature at the North Pole?
Does Santa have any daylight?
Why can't we find Santa? Maybe he actually lives at the magnetic North Pole which changes every year!
- The Road to the Magnetic North Pole
- Expedition to the Magnetic North Pole
- How Does a Compass Work? How to Make Your Own Compass
What will Santa do if we live on another planet?
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Explore Pascal's Triangle and the 12 Days of Christmas. By the way, what would you prefer — the twelve gifts or $1 doubled for 12 days? What about 12! (that's twelve factorial).
- 2007 cost of gifts rises to $78,100!
- The Twelve Days of Christmas and Pascal's Triangle
- The Twelve Days of Christmas: Music Meets Math
- The Twelve Days of Christmas Pricing Activity
- Total of Gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas
Keeping in Touch
Have you sent out any Christmas cards? How much were the stamps? How much more is an international letter? How much is a roll of 50 stamps? Calculate how much money you can save this year by calling all your relatives over the internet for free!
I just started using Skype to keep in touch with my parents. It was surprisingly easy to set up. We are saving at least $20 a month.
The Mathematics (and the Magic) of Christmas
New Year's Eve
Learn about time zones as different countries welcome in the New Year.
- Countdown to New Years Eve
- Time Square Earth Cam
- The World Clock: Time Zones
- Map of World Time Zones
Christmas Worksheets and Math Problems
- Christmas Factor Trees
- Addition: Santa's List
- Addition: Santa's List 2 digit
- Ordering 0-50: Christmas Tree Ornaments
- Ordering 1-100
- Ordering 1-1000
- Dot to Dot Christmas Tree (0-50)
- Maze: Fireplace
- Christmas Maze
- Christmas Math Word Problems
- Christmas Math Stories
- Logic Problem with Candy Canes and Ornaments
- Christmas Logic Patterns (Easy)
- Christmas Logic Patterns (Difficult)
- Christmas Sudoku Puzzles (Kids)
- More Christmas Worksheets: Various
- Merry Christmas Math Problems (and Solutions)
- Christmas Worksheets (probability, pie chart, surveys) from About.com
(Deb Russell the mathematics guide has a great newsletter you can sign up to receive!)
History and Culture
Don't forget to enjoy a bit of history and culture! (You can always find math in dates, distances and geography statistics).
More Christmas Fun
- Build a Snowman Online Game
- Make Your Own Snowflake
- Sleepy Santa Paper Craft
- Fold and Cut Gingerbread Man
- Apple Santa Craft
- Smack a Penguin!
Unwrapping Gifts (and Math)
Well, I doubt anyone will be in the mood, but here goes! Determine the probability that Dad gets a tie. Estimate and time how long it takes to unwrap all the presents. Compare and contrast this with how long it took to wrap them. Chart the number of gifts received versus given. Estimate and weigh the bags of recycled wrapping paper. Explore nets with the extra boxes and measure them using cubits. Sort your gifts into Venn diagrams and make a pie chart to illustrate your findings. Line up all the Christmas chocolates into arrays, sort, group and put into sets. Use the leftover ribbon to explore topology and create a gigantic mobius strip. Try to build a rhombicosidodecahedron out of the recycled wrapping paper or just take a break from math and have googols of fun!