Thursday, December 13, 2012

Santa Math!

My classroom is buzzing with Holiday excitement, and we still have a full week of school left until Winter break! I can see it in the wild-eyes of my students, hear it in their much-more frequent giggles, and almost feel it in the air.  But you know what they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!  And that's exactly what I did.

This week, I tapped into that energy with all things Santa.  Our class has been recruited by the North Pole to help the Man in Red, the Elves, and even Mrs. Claus solve some of their real-world math dilemmas involving measurement, area, and perimeter.

On Monday, we used perimeter to figure out just how many feet of lights Santa would need to surround his house.  Students used a scale to convert their measurement in centimeters to feet, and of course, completed their Elf work order to make it official for Santa.

Tuesday, we used area to design a new workshop layout for Ol' Saint Nick. Students had to include important areas like the "Wrapping Area" and the "Toy Paint Booth", which each had specific dimensions, and then they were allowed to add their own touches by including areas they thought would be necessary for the Elves.  They were so creative (and cute), and included things like a break room, a hot cocoa dispensing machine, and a toy testing area.  This was tons of fun!


On Wednesday, we helped the Elves determine how much ribbon would be needed for different boxes, and then we multiplied to find the total amount of ribbon for 10, 50 and 100 boxes.   It was amazing to see the strategies that students used in solving for 50 and 100 boxes- talk about using the Standards for Mathematical Practice!

On Thursday, we helped Mrs. Claus find the area of different baking pans so that she would know just how many brownies she could make for the elves.  I don't have pictures of this day because I was being observed, but I can tell you that in 3rd grade, students are expected to find area by tiling, using addition, and multiplication...and all of these strategies were necessary and helpful for this challenging activity!

On Friday, we were once again summoned by Mrs. Claus to help with a baking issue.  My kiddos had to measure the perimeter of different Gingerbread cookies, and then make recommendations as to which one would use the least amount of frosting border.

Santa Math was so much fun for both the students and myself, and was a great way to keep students engaged during these last few crazy days before Winter Break!  One more week before break...we can do this!