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Thanksgiving Dinner Math Activities

How many people are coming over? How much food should we buy? How many pies should we make so each person gets a piece? These are the typical questions I hear each year. Many families prepare large meals for their family and friends; so it can be the perfect time to involve your children in dinner preparation to incorporate real-life conceptual understanding of mathematics. Here are some activities!

  1. Have your child determine what size turkey you need to feed everyone coming for dinner. (How many pounds should you purchase if you have 10 people attending and 1 ½ pounds per person ?)
  2. Already purchased a turkey ? Have your child calculate how much each person can have. (You have a 20 pound turkey and 8 people coming for dinner. How much turkey will each person be able to have?)
  3. Review elapsed time by helping your child write down the times that the turkey went into the oven and the time it came out. Younger children might need a little help calculating the number of hours if it crosses a 12.
  4. Setting the table. Simply counting out forks, knives and spoons can be helpful practice for many early learners.
  5. Math with pies can be extra fun! If everyone eats 1/8th of a pie, how many pies do you need to serve 14 people? And if you have 8 slices of pie, and two are left over, what fraction of pie is left over?

Incorporating math into everyday activities can help strengthen a child’s conceptual understanding. What Thanksgiving activities do you do at home or in the classroom that encourage math learning?