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Turkey & Math: Both on the Menu for Thanksgiving!

turkeyLooking for something different in the short week before Thanksgiving Break? Spice up your lessons with these seasonally themed ideas for your classroom.

Elementary School

Middle School 

High School 

Elementary School 

Problem Solvers: Talking Turkey
Teaching Children Mathematics 

Help Sam determine how big a turkey his family should buy for this Thanksgiving’s feast. He finds some “rules of thumb” for buying turkeys but the people who made the rules of thumb do not know Sam’s family. How does your family compare to Sam’s?

    Note: Sample solutions to the Talking Turkey problem published in the Nov 2006 issue.

Investigations: A Mathematical Cornucopia of Pumpkins
Teaching Children Mathematics  

Use pumpkins and other seasonal fruits and vegetables to teach your class about data analysis, algebra, and measurement. Explore topics of volume, mass, and circumference while making connections with science. Do pumpkins sink or float? What measure can best predict the number of seeds inside? What defines a "typical" pumpkin? What relationships surprise you?

Math by the Month: Celebrate the Harvest
Teaching Children Mathematics  

All of this month's problems integrate food and harvest time with mathematical ideas. There are four problems for each grade band: K–2, 3–4, and 5–6 that will engage your students in timely questions about autumn. Ask them to figure out how many years ago the first Thanksgiving took place, analyze the kernels of corn on a cob, or modify a favorite recipe to feed the entire class.

Middle School  

quiltThe Mathematics of Native American Star Quilts
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 

Examine the mathematics involved in making star quilts and the cultural significance these quilts hold for the Lakota Sioux.

American Indian Tipis
Student Explorations in Mathematics 

This issue gives students background on tipis, the homes of Plains Indians. Students then analyze how the number of support poles and their placement affect the living area of the tipi. They construct circles, place points, draw line segments and estimate areas. The students learn that as the number of poles increases, the area of the polygon approaches the area of the circle on which the poles are placed. Students are introduced to the names of different polygons, to the apothem, to central angles, to trigonometric ratios and to the notion of limits.

When Do We Eat? 

Although Thanksgiving day is usually observed on the fourth Thursday in November, its actual date in any year must be decided by proclamation of the sitting president of the United States.

    More "did you know" facts at Figure This! Math Challenges for Families  

High School  

turkeybingoProbability in Practice: The Case of Turkey Bingo
Mathematics Teacher 

Learn to play Turkey Bingo and see the rich extension that naturally arose in one particular school. Given the modified rules to Turkey Bingo, challenge your students to predict the number of words that must be called out to achieve a given number of winners. The article also provides two different solutions, incorporating technology.


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