Updated: Dec 9, 2021
Last week we shared how we like to run our reading groups and maths lessons all the way through to Christmas. Not only does it keep high quality learning at the forefront, but it is also a sneaky classroom management strategy.
Kids need routine, and we know that many feel safe and settled when routines are maintained. It is easy for behaviours to slip when lots of exciting things are happening or when students aren’t sure what to expect from day to day.
Keeping up with daily maths lessons is one way of ensuring you still have some routines among the Christmas chaos that school life brings.
That is why we love having a handful of Christmas themed Maths lessons up our sleeve. It combines routine with festive fun!
So, here are, 5 Christmas themed Maths lessons your students are going to LOVE:
1. MAB Pictures (Christmas style)
This idea really isn’t ours. One December a few years ago, Ash was teaching a number lesson to her Year 2 class and gave them our MAB picture task. The students got creative and turned their pictures into Christmas reindeers!
It is a super simple task. Students choose a number (this can be differentiated according to a student’s ability or the level you are teaching). They then use base ten blocks to create a picture that equals the number on their card.
For a Christmas twist, ask them to create something festive, like Ash’s class did. It could be reindeers, Christmas trees, gifts, Santa’s workshop (the more creative, the better).
2. Number of the Day
As teachers, we tend to focus our key work in developing number skills at the beginning of the school year. However, strong number skills support our students to grow in all areas of Mathematics. Number of the Day activities work on these skills and builds students' confidence when manipulating numbers.
Additionally, this task requires fluency and rigour and is easily differentiated while being fun for the students! Grab a copy of our Christmas Number of the Day here (the resource has versions for 2, 3 and 4-digit numbers).
3.Crack the code
A crack the code mystery is a series of codes that require knowledge and skills to solve a problem. It is always a lot of fun because students have a purpose for completing the tasks and therefore solving the mystery. Our students always share how fun the task is and that it doesn’t even feel like learning!
We have a code cracker where students solve ‘Who is the Christmas Present Thief?’ Included in the set are 5 codes for students to crack. Each code contains a clue which helps the students eliminate the suspects, leaving only one. Grab your free copy of our Christmas Code Cracker here. This task is suitable for students in Grades 3-6.
4. The Shopping list
Kids love shopping. Ask them to create their own Christmas wish list. Either by searching online or using catalogues (we don’t lack those at Christmas), ask students to include prices of each item and calculate the total cost of their list.
Adapt this task for older students and ask them to create a Christmas budget for their Christmas shopping. Give them an amount to spend and ask them to:
Decide who you will buy for
How much they will spend on each person
The price of the items they want to buy, record and explain their choices.
You could also do a similar task for a class Christmas party / Christmas Day feast.
5. UNO cards (with a holiday twist)
A simple deck of UNO cards can be used in so many different ways to create fun learning activities for kids. All you need to do for a holiday twist is pull out and use the red and green cards.
Here are some great Maths activities you could do using your green and red UNO cards:
Number-word match – Have the numbers 1-9 written in words on cards. Choose a card and then find the word to match. You can extend this activity by making 2-digit numbers (place two cards side-by-side) and get children to record the number in words themselves.
Uno card and domino match – This task develops a skill we call subitising. Match the number on the card to the number of dots on a domino.
Odd and even fluency sort.
Matching Friends to ten - students could simply find pairs or create number sentences using the ‘friendly numbers’
Times table practise – Choose two random cards and multiply them together.
Two (or more) Digit Addition & Subtraction – Depending on how children are developing with their addition and subtraction skills, use the cards to create algorithms for them to solve.
Greater than or Less than – Sticky notes work great for adding greater than, less than or equal to signs in between each card. Work with single digits or place two or more cards side by side to make number sentences a little more complicated.
Place Value War – This game also needs a partner. Each player chooses two cards and makes a 2-digit number. The player with the largest number gets the point. The first player to 5 is the winner.
Rounding numbers – Students sort numbers depending on if they round up or round down.
There are so many possibilities!
Check out this blog post for more inspiration on using UNO cards in Maths.
And that’s a wrap! Five different Maths lessons festive twist that will keep your students learning while having a fun!
To grab a FREE copy of our Christmas Maths symbols for your UNO card activities, click here.
We have written a similar post about Integrating Christmas Activities into your Reading Groups during this time of year. Click here to get some literacy rotation inspiration.