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Math on the Go! (Thanksgiving Edition)

Make your own Thanksgiving turkey!

   1. Create a turkey using a collection of different shapes!

For this you can use either a pattern block set, or simply cut shapes out of different colored paper. Once your masterpiece is finished, ask your kids different questions based on their age

  • How many shapes did you use? (Grades K - 1)
  • Of all the shapes used, what fraction is each shape type? (i.e. 1/4th circles, etc.) (Grades 3 - 4)
  • What fraction of the total available shapes did you use to make your turkey? (Grades 3 - 4)
  • What percent of the total available shapes did you use to make your turkey? (Grade 5)
  • A full set of 250 Pattern Blocks consists of 25 yellow hexagons, 25 orange squares, 50 green equilateral triangles, 50 red trapezoids, 50 tan rhombuses and 50 blue rhombuses. What is the possibility of pulling green with the first draw? (Grade 5 & up)

   2. Make a counting book from corn! (K-2)
Take a blank craft book and glue corn kernels on pages with different rules. For example - one page can only have numbers (represented by corn kernels) that are multiples of 5, one with numbers that end in 0, etc.

   3. Popcorn and Cranberry Necklaces! (K-3)
Give your child a needle and heavyweight thread to make necklaces of popcorn (p) and cranberries (c). Decide on a pattern in advance. There are so many to choose from! From the simple pcpc, or ppcppcppc, to more complicated ones like pcppcpppcpppc. If you plan to tie the ends of the string, plan on a circular pattern! When the different necklaces are completed - discuss, study, and compare them. Here are some possible questions for discussion:

  • Can we find out without counting how many items there are on the string?
  • Without counting, can we figure out if there are more popcorn or cranberries?
  • Lie the string in a straight line, without counting, can we figure otu if there is a popcorn or cranberry in the 37th place?

   4. Is the Turkey Done? (5)
Ask your child to help you with preparing a turkey for Thanksgiving and explore math at the same time. Here are some mathematical questions to include in the turkey baking process:

  • Discuss with your child how long the whole cooking shebang will take and when you should start.
  • Tell your child that for every pound of turkey you need 20 minutes of baking time. Figure out together how much cooking time you'll need.
  • When you begin baking, insert the thermometer and record the time and temperature. Then, make a graph by plotting the turkey's temperature every 10-15 minutes.
  • Make predictions about how much time is left, if, say, a Turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F. Your child might be surprised to see how the temperature rises quickly in the beginning, but then seems to slow. Why does this happen? Discuss over your Thanksgiving meal! 
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