Grades 3-5
Thanksgiving, with its emphasis on cooking, presents great opportunities to do math! “
Talking Turkey (PDF)” from the “Problem Solvers” department of Teaching Children Mathematics encourages students to work with fractions, consider whether an answer is reasonable, and justify different answers. Since “Talking Turkey” was featured in “Problem Solvers,” log in to your NCTM accout to get additional
stories from teachers (PDF) including implementation tips and student work.
Access and Equity Note: In some families, ham or other foods play as prominent a role as turkey on Thanksgiving tables. Immigrant communities might serve a turkey-based dish or other festive recipe from their own culture. Encourage children to share their own Thanksgiving tradition (being sensitive to children whose families don't celebrate or who are going through hard times that are disrupting their traditions); then explain that the family in "Talking Turkey" is serving a whole turkey as their main course.
Bonus Content: If your students are ready for even more Thanksgiving recipe math, The Math Forum at NCTM's problem "Anthony's Famous Butter Rolls" is a great "side dish" for "Talking Turkey." Check out the story (PDF), our suggested problem (PDF), and Teacher Packet (PDF) with multiple strategies and student work.
Get Task (PDF)