The Twelve Days of Christmas

from PNC Christmas Price Index
from PNC Christmas Price Index

UPDATE 12/12/16: The PNC Interactive Gift Hunt mentioned below no longer seems to be working properly (it was from 2012, after all).  However, you can find the 2016 version here, which gives current prices for all of the gifts in the song.

First of all, I would like it on the record that I despise “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song.  Repetition makes me snore.  I do like the Straight No Chaser version, though…

Anyway, I am sorry to post this so late, but I just devised this lesson yesterday.  Maybe you can file it away to use next year.

My 4th grade gifted students are studying mathematical masterpieces.  We had looked at the Fibonacci series earlier this year, and a couple of days ago, I stumbled across an interesting lesson that ties Pascal’s Triangle in with “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.  We spent half our day: creating the triangle, finding patterns in the triangle, finding Fibonacci in the triangle, trying to make sense of a Vi Hart video about the triangle, and using the triangle to figure out how many gifts were actually bought each day.

Then, I lucked upon this awesome website that has a fabulous interactive which tells the current going rate of each gift in the song.  You know a site is good when the kids are begging you for the URL and writing it down so they can access it as soon as they get home.  It’s really fun to use if you have an Interactive White Board.  Although this does not tie in directly with Pascal’s Triangle, you can use this nifty recording sheet to figure out the actual total cost of all of the gifts for the year 2012.  I had my students estimate the cost of each gift before we looked at the web site.  They were pretty close to the totals for buying each gift once – but had a hard time conceiving the cost of buying the gifts multiple times (like 12 partridges in pear trees).

You may not have a chance in the next couple of days to use every resource that I’ve linked here, but I highly recommend you visit PNC’s Christmas Price Index Gift Hunt.  You may be surprised at the cost of 8 maids milking!

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