It’s New Year’s Eve! Break out the party hats, noise makers, and math to celebrate 365 days gone by. New Year’s Eve marks the end of the Earth’s full-circle travel around the sun, so here are some fun ideas to bring your party full circle.
When my boys were young, I started a tradition of doing a family art activity* on New Year’s Eve. Our inaugural project was making a kind of winter count. A winter count isn’t a math competition, rather it’s an activity borrowed from the Lakota tribe in which they record tribal records and significant events from the year. Some winter counts have a single image depicting the most memorable event of that year, though others have more. These images were combined with oral histories to provide a record of the past.
As a child I scoured the night sky on December 24 looking for Santa and his reindeer. My dedication paid off. When I was seven, I saw their dark shadows crossing a moonlit sky. Really! Nearly forty years later I remember the thrill of spotting the sleigh and calling members of my family to the large picture window in our living room so they could see, too.
My kids say their favorite Christmas tradition is decorating our Christmas tree. There’s Christmas music and pretty lights. The whole family pitches in and we enjoy hot cocoa afterwards as a reward–what’s not to like? The kids don’t realize it, but there’s also math all along the way.
Tis the season for wrapping! If your house is anything like mine, the dining room table has been turned into wrap central, with bags, rolls of paper, ribbons, bows and tape scattered all over. It’s easy for adults to see wrapping gifts as yet another chore that needs to be done during the holidays, but kids have an entirely different outlook. Gift wrapping supplies hold endless possibilities for making all kinds of creations. My kids are also fascinated by the idea of wrapping, and they’re convinced that anything can be made special simply by covering it in pretty paper and a bow.
I scream, you scream, let’s make snow ice cream! Yes, it may be bone chilling cold outside in, but when the snow falls we can make our own ice cream with a few simple ingredients. Who can resist?
For Computer Science Education Week we connected with Sri Ramakrishnan from Tynker, a program that teaches kids to code. Sri shares five thoughts about math and how it relates to computer programming.
Your children have a special mission. They must successfully navigate their way through a maze of lasers and be careful not to touch it. If they fail, they risk injury. If they succeed, they will be heroes!
Baking is a great way to get kids measuring and understanding fractions, but these cookies pack an extra math punch. I like to say that these fun cookies put the “fib” in Fibonacci based on their cool spiral pattern, that is close to, but not quite a famous spiral. They’ll also impress your guests, and they’re easy to make with young bakers.
Professor Jo Boaler, from Stanford University and CEO of youcubed.org, is on a mission much like Bedtime Math to help adults and kids get over math anxiety. She is a driving force behind math change in the United States and beyond. We’re pleased to present 6 of her tips to help parents make math fun.