5 Yuletastic Christmas Math Lessons For Festive Fun Leading Up To Christmas Break
Christmas math activities for elementary school can be fun to run but difficult to plan, so let us help you enjoy Christmas with your class with these 5 yuletastic activities! These can be adapted to suit elementary and middle school students.
- 2nd grade Christmas math activity: Christmas math recipes
- 3rd grade Christmas math activity: Christmas calculations shopping list
- 4th grade Christmas math activity: Christmas classroom fair
- 5th grade Christmas math activity: Wrapping paper Christmas math nets
- 1st grade Christmas math activity (also suitable for older students!): Symmetry with snowflakes and Christmas ornaments
Judging by the glitter and tinsel at school, nativities, pantomimes and school trips seem to be our main focus at this time of year but that doesn’t mean that math should stop. The trick is that, as teachers, we just need to make our Christmas-themed math as fun and engaging as the other distractions that take place at this time of year!
So, the teachers here at Third Space Learning have put their heads together and made things a little easier for you by listing our five favorite elementary Christmas math activities that we turn to in this hectic period. These go beyond simple Christmas math worksheets or coloring in a Christmas picture, and focus on hands-on activities.
These fun math lessons are all quick to implement and can be incorporated within whatever else you’re teaching that day, just for a bit of Christmas fun, so all that’s left to do is sit back, relax and pick your favorite activity from the list!
2nd grade Christmas math activity: Christmas math recipes
What would Christmas be like without all the food? Candy canes, gingerbread men, fudge, eggnog!
So why not use the abundance of food at this time of year and get your learners researching and creating recipes for their favorite foods of the holiday season.
This can be a fun way to practice math skills such as ratio and proportion, fractions, place value and converting between different units, or whatever else you’d like to use it for! This is a simple Christmas math activity, but it is one that always goes down extremely well with students.
Give your students recipes on task cards, such as the one below, and ask them to re-write this recipe for 8 people, then for 4 people, then 2 people… See if they can then find a link between the numbers.
Mince pie recipe
This recipe makes 16 mince pies
- 1 jar of mincemeat
- 2 satsumas
- 1 ½ cups plain flour
- 1 ⅛ cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
3rd grade Christmas math activity: Christmas calculations shopping list
Get your students to write a letter to Santa explaining what presents they would like to receive for Christmas (maybe a more benevolent task could involve writing a list for a family member, a friend or family pet).
Once they’ve written a list, they can decide prices for their items, either by taking a look at Amazon, or a similar website, or by making them up, and calculate the total cost of their list. This will practice their addition skills and ability to work with decimals.
To extend this activity:
Find the mode, median, and mean price of their presents or discuss the appropriateness of their prices with a partner. Ask students to write their own word problems using items from their list to give to challenge students!
4th grade Christmas math activity: Christmas classroom fair
Use role play as a tool for getting your students to understand the math of money better and apply it to a real life situation, which in this case is deciding that you are going to run a fun Christmas classroom fair!
Some students can take on the role of store managers and some can be customers. The store managers can create posters with prices of their products on and the customers can set themselves a budget for their Christmas shopping list before the Christmas fair begins.
To adapt this activity:
Take your students back in history and instead of money, replace their currency with goats, sheep or cows to add an extra layer of difficulty to the math problems. Algebra is much more engaging in an interactive lesson over another worksheet!
For a challenge, give the store managers a different currency to work with and provide the students with a conversion rate (to make it easy, you could use $2= £1) to buy/sell goods with.
5th grade Christmas math activity: Wrapping paper Christmas math nets
Ask your students to carry out a range of investigations using nets and wrapping paper. They could wrap up different objects and compare their nets, they could design different nets for the same object or they could be given an A3 sheet of paper and could have a competition to be as efficient as possible in order to wrap particular objects.
Link this activity to religious education by investigating the reason behind giving and receiving presents at Christmas or to geography by discussing the environment and recycling.
1st grade Christmas math activity (also suitable for older students!): Symmetry with snowflakes and Christmas ornaments
All kids love making snowflakes. Folding the paper, cutting the paper, seeing their designs hung up on the window… This is one Christmas math activity that will be popular, no matter the grade level!
How about making this activity more challenging by ensuring math is involved? Your students could be challenged to ensure there are four lines of symmetry or have to find the symmetry in their designs once they have created their snowflakes.
A similar idea can be to provide your students with printable templates of different shaped Christmas ornaments or a Christmas tree and to then get them to create symmetrical Christmas designs for their ornaments. You could also ensure they use rotational symmetry for an additional challenge.
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The content in this article was originally written by secondary teacher Sophie Waterman-Smith and has since been revised and adapted for US schools by elementary math teacher Katie Keeton.