Halloween Math Lesson Plans
Halloween math activities provide a perfect way to make this subject relevant and fun.
By Kristen Kindoll
Halloween math activities can help students build lots of skills, especially in math. They can count the number of times they change their minds about a costume, they can figure out how many bags of candy you should buy; so one, you don't have any left over and two, you don't run out of chocolate and get your house tricked on by angry, sugary kids. It is surprising how a simple holiday can conjure up a bevy of mathematical equations to solve.
Besides providing ample opportunities to change up your math routine, Halloween presents a yummy alternative to general instruction. Halloween Hunt has children use map skills. Children follow a map of the school, but a home or even a yard can be utilized instead. The treasure at the end is an ice cream party. If educators are feeling especially ambitious, an old-fashioned crank ice cream making could be incorporated. The scientific principles of how salt effects ice can be demonstrated in a yummy way. While children take turns turning the crank, Halloween books can be read out-loud. Agricultural entertainment has exploded around the country; farms have sought out alternatives to traditional farming. Many farms have corn mazes and additional activities for children to enjoy. Some of these activities include sorting corn, measuring grain, and learning about old farming techniques.
Lesson Planet has Halloween worksheets. Whether used in a pinch, or while driving to extra curricular classes, these provide lessons for the on-the-go family. A Frightening Mix of Math is an addition and subtraction sheet of facts. There are funny Halloween images on the page. Answers are provided for ease for the parent teacher. Halloween Fractions has word problems and fractions. While worksheets are considered by many as busy work, they are valuable tools to make sure the child has a firm grasp of key concepts. These can be used in lieu of a test too.
There are many ways to use the load of candy the children get during the month to fuel a math lesson. Harriet's Halloween Sort classifies and sorts candy according to different characteristics. Parent's can read "Harriet's Halloween Candy" by Nancy Carlson as a warm up before the lesson. M&M Math has children make yummy M&M cookies. The recipe is included in the lesson. Cooking always uses valuable math skills. Teaching children to half the ingredients or double the recipe is a great way to demonstrate "real life" math skills. While the children cook and eat M&M's, they can graph the colors of the candy. It is also fun to estimate what color might be more prevalent in each bag.
Halloween provides a sweet alternative to every day math. The lessons below offer more ways to create a little trick-or-treat in your home classroom.
Halloween Math Lesson Plans:
Holiday Greeting Cards, A Graphing Activity In this lesson students research what holidays sells the most cards. Middle to high school level students could call local card shops or stores to talk to managers to find out their inventory results. There is a free on-line tool to create pie and bar graph charts.
Marathon Trick-or-Treating This lesson has students run an obstacle course and collect candy. Students perform a set of cardiovascular activities, while assembling their stash of goodies. After the music stops and the data is recorded, a second attempt is made to check if the score can be improved or matched.
Next Comes Pumpkin Pie In this lesson students listen to the story "In a Pumpkin Shell" by Jennifer Storey Gillis as the introduction for the lesson. Each child gets to sample a piece of pie. Poetry is incorporated as well as measuring and weighing real pumpkins. Sample worksheets are provided for resource material.