Holiday Activities for Middle and High School Math Class
Even though Thanksgiving is my own personal favorite, I love the Christmas holiday season too! I always make a point to bring the holiday cheer into the classroom.
During such a busy time of year, when combined with the rising emphasis on our students’ test scores and meeting all standards, I know many teachers find it difficult to find the time. No one wants to waste precious teaching and planning time with too much “frill”.
I never like to add anything into a class period unless it has a valid math purpose! We just cannot afford to waste time in the curriculum schedule, especially in math class.
With so much to cover, I love finding ways to incorporate rigorous math activities into the fun of the Christmas season.
Congruent Triangles: Winter Snowflake
Level: 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th
One of the easiest ways to bring holiday cheer into your classroom is through decorations. This FREE activity incorporates challenging problem solving and provides pretty student-made winter decorations for your walls. It’s a worksheet style set of practice problems including:
- Writing congruency statements
- Using Triangle Sum Theorem
- Identifying corresponding parts of triangles
- Using base angles of isosceles triangles
- Setting up and solving linear equations to find missing angle measures
Level: 6th, 7th, 8th,
This hands-on activity puts your students’ math skills to work! In groups, your students will work together to measure all sides, heights, and angles, classify polygons, find the area and perimeter of each piece, identify two separate pairs of similar figures, and cut to construct trees. By the end, you will have a whole winter forest of trees you can post on the bulletin board or wall!
This activity covers the following concepts:
- Measuring with a ruler
- Measuring with a protractor
- Finding the perimeter
- Finding the area of triangles and trapezoids
- Identifying similar figures
- Classifying triangles
- Classifying trapezoids
Level: 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
This awesome and fun activity created by PNC, helps you introduce basic economics to your class by pricing out each gift from “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. Your students will work in groups to search on the internet and through ads to calculate the total cost of the twelve gifts mentioned in the song.
There are more activities in the free downloadable lesson plan to guide you if you are looking to extend the lesson!
Level: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th
In this activity you can have your students work to solve equations to color in beautiful ornaments, like a color by number.
The awesome thing about this activity is how easily you are able to differentiate learning for your different learners. There are three different sets of equations. Set A is the easiest and contains a variable only on one side of the equation. Set B has a medium difficulty level with variables on both sides of the equation. Set C is the most challenging. You can choose one set, or choose to use any combination!
Level: 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
File Folder Fun provides an awesome free downloadable resource! Download and print these 3-D shapes for your students to cut out and glue together, allowing them to have some hands-on experience with shapes. Then, let them decorate their creations like holiday ornaments to hang around the classroom! You can even make a tree on your bulletin board (or a full, live tree if you have a spare corner in your room)! If possible, have students use tape instead of glue for easier assembly of the flaps.
Level: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th
This activity includes a set of challenge equations, providing a fun approach to algebra and building problem-solving skills.
Three levels are included:
- 4 basic (easy) cards that can be used before or during middle school grades for critical thinking
- 4 medium level cards that are perfect for middle school or high school students
- 4 difficult cards that offer a challenge, even for high schoolers
You can also use these when teaching substitution or the transitive property!
Level: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Advent is a very special time for the Church; you want your students to be thinking about it throughout the day. In this bulletin board sized Advent calendar, you get 24 flaps that each have a problem of the day based on the nativity.
Your students will love entering the room each day knowing they are getting an exciting new problem. The best part is how it perfectly integrates math and religion!
With this product you get many choices, so you can choose what’s best for you and your students. You have a choice of three designs (options for color printers as well as black and white on colored paper).
There are three sets of problems included, one for grades 3-4, one for grades 5-6, and one for grades 7-8. Mix and match questions from each set of questions to perfectly fit what your students are covering, or simply print the set that best fits the grade(s) you teach. You will have plenty of options!
Level: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
An article on The Guardian shares an idea that includes making beautiful Christmas cards with the use of math through stitching geometrical designs on cards. Essentially, you draw two straight lines that intersect, and then draw points along those lines at equal distances. When you join dots from one line to the other, you get a perfect parabola. The article also shares how to achieve other intricate designs, and tips to make the project run smoothly!
Do you have any ideas to bring the holiday cheer to your classroom? We would love to hear more!