Monday, December 17, 2012

Math Activities for the Winter Break

By Savannah Hill, RME Professional Development Coordinator

From PBS Kids Fresh Pick
Buying Groceries

Although the winter break might not be quite as harsh as the “summer slump,” the break can potentially be harsh on a child’s mind. Their daily school routine is broken and they are not receiving the consistent practice of their math curriculum from school. But, just because they are out of school does not mean the learning cannot continue at home!

Below is a list of activities that children can do at home over the winter break to keep their minds thinking about math. These activities are interactive and will help support student learning while their school routine is broken.

While this blog is still directed at teachers, we hope you can use this in your last few days before the winter break. Or maybe these are some activities you could communicate to parents for you students to do over the winter break!

  • Count the number of ornaments. If you have multiple trees, have children divide to see how many ornaments go on each tree to make it even. If you have a younger child, have them practice dividing evenly by physically placing the ornaments in groups.
  • Review geometry by having the children group the ornaments by shape. One group may be all spheres, one group may be prisms, etc.
  • Use geometry when wrapping presents and calculate the surface area of the gifts to determine how much wrapping paper may be needed.
  • Have children bring a calculator with them to the grocery store and practice their math! Set a budget and have them help you along the way. While in the produce section, let your child help you weigh items and discuss pounds and ounces.
  • My Christmas Wish List In this activity, students can practice adding decimals (money amounts). Students can search for items that they want for Christmas in magazines or online and add them to their list to find the total cost. This allows them to practice their math skills while enjoying the holidays. Students could also be given a budget of how much they can spend on gifts and be challenged to get as close to their amount, without going over. More advanced students can be told to include a percentage of sales tax or shipping fees.
  • Make-a-flake This online activity allows students to make their own snowflakes without the mess! Children can cut out pieces of a triangle to create their own creative snowflake. They could even be given some sort of requirement to help with their shapes. For example, make a snowflake that has at least three triangles cut out.

PBS Kids: Fresh-Pick 
  • Buying Groceries Students have to pick out different items that cost different amounts and stay within a budget. For example, they may be given oranges that are $0.10 each and apples which are $0.15 and told they have $0.50. How many of each food can they buy?
  • Grocery Mapping Students have to map to the items in the store. They use the arrows to direct the character to the items in the store. 

  • Customer Change Students have to make the correct change. For example, they are told to make $0.90 and are given the option of quarters, dimes, and nickels. 
  • There are even some lesson plans for your preschool, elementary, and secondary classroom that go along with the lunch lab.

What other activities do you encourage students to do to practice their math skills daily?

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