## Math Fun with The 12 Days of Christmas 2021 Style

Interesting math patterns make me happy, so I really enjoyed doing a unit on math masterpieces with my 4th graders several years ago that included Fibonacci, Sierpinski, Pascal, and the 12 Days of Christmas. Unfortunately, several of the links that I included in that post back in 2016 no longer exist. But the good news is that some newer ones have surfaced. Time, then, to go back to the drawing board…

If I was doing this lesson today, I would begin by posing the question of how we could figure out exactly how many presents the extremely generous “true love” would have purchased by the end of the famous “12 Days of Christmas” song. After some discussion, suggestions, and student collaboration (and maybe listening to this funny version from Straight No Chaser), I would then introduce this great spreadsheet Eric Curts just posted. It will help students think about their math and learn a few spreadsheet skills. After students complete this and you debrief, you could then ask them what they think the price of all of those gifts would add up to today. PNC has a nice summary of the cost of each gift and the total, but don’t show it to them until you’ve gotten some estimates! Students who need a challenge could be tasked with designing a new spreadsheet for those calculations.

Next class, I would introduce them to Pascal’s triangle. I wouldn’t tell them what it is at first. I would give them this worksheet, this one, or the first page of this one to complete. You can see on the latter link that there are some additional pages that give suggestions for patterns students can look for in the triangle once they have successfully added the correct numbers. Even more patterns can be found here. Note the Fibonnacci numbers, and how you can get Sierpinski’s triangle by coloring in certain numbers! And then, you can point out the pattern, shown here, that reveals how many total presents are received each day. (The printable triangles I linked to don’t have that many rows, so it’s up to you if you want them to make that connection on their own.)

For more advanced students, you can show them this video, which demonstrates how Pascal’s Triangle can be used to find coefficients or probability. Here is an interactive from Mathigon for those students who want to go deeper, too. Shodor also has an online triangle you can manipulate and color as well as recommended lessons. This Geogebra one is fun to play with, too.

If you’re loving these math resources, don’t forget that you can go to my Wakelet page, where I have links to two different math collections full of engaging activities, “Math, Art, and Nature” and “Math Sites that Won’t Make You Fall Asleep.” You’ll also find my December collection and Fun Stuff!

## The Smallest Gift of Christmas

Author Peter Reynolds reads out loud his book, The Smallest Gift of Christmas, in this video that reminds us that the best gift we can ever receive is love.

## ELA 12 Days of Christmas

Last Thursday, Richard Byrne shared an absolute treasure trove of Google Drive templates created and shared by Darren Maltais.Â  You can click the link above to read Richard’s post.Â  One of the templates that you may want to consider using in the near future is “ELA 12 Days of Christmas,” which offers 12 different creative writing ideas, along with examples. Whether you plan to use some or all of these, you should definitely make a copy of this to help you and your students make it through this occasionally overwhelming time of year!Â  (I particularly like the Facebook example with comments from Buddy the Elf and Rudolph!) By the way, if you would like math activities for the 12 Days of Christmas, you can try this.

## Telegenic Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break

I can’t believe this crazy week is almost over! I appreciate everyone’s patience as I recycle some posts from last year this week. I’ve added a few updates to keep things “fresh!” (According to Merriam-Webster, “telegenic” means “well-suited to the medium of television; especially :Â  having an appearance and manner that are markedly attractive to television viewers.”)

So, let’s face it. Â Despite our best efforts to keep our energy up, we need a bit of down time every once in awhile.Â  Here is a collection of short videos to help you catch your breath.

Kid President – If you haven’t seen this young man’s collection of videos, you are in a for a real treat. Â Be prepared to do a little dance and to stretch your smile muscles. Â These are some that are great for this time of year:

Winter-themed Animations – I have featured some of these on the blog this season, but they bear repeating (no pun intended – okay, it’s only intended if it makes sense).

Videos about Being Kind to Others (You can find more inspirational videos for students on my Pinterest Board.)

We’re in the home stretch now! Â I hope some of these links help you make the distance ðŸ™‚

Just in case you missed my other “survival” posts this week, here they are: Â Creative Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break, LogicalÂ Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break, and PhysicalÂ Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break.

## Logical Ways to Survive the Weeks Before Winter Break

Full disclosure: this first week of December is going to be my busiest week this year. Therefore, I decided to cheat a bit for a few days and recycle some posts from last year. Iâ€™ve done a bit of editing to make sure they remain current but otherwise they are the same. Hopefully you still find them useful!

Yesterday, I posted some “Creative Ways to Survive the Week Before Winter Break.” But maybe youÂ have a group of students (or even a handful) who have a decided preference for logical thinking challenges, so here are some resources:

One resource I always forget to check (even though I have products listed on there!) is Teachers Pay Teachers. Â Here are some free logic packets you might want to download:

This one is NOT free (currently \$8), but it’s 213 pages, and chock full of critical thinking activities for 1st-3rd. Â Personally, I think it’s well worth the money for this set of “Christmas Critical Thinking Puzzles,” that includes: Â Primarily Christmas Logic,Â Christmas Logic with a String of Lights,Â Christmas Analogies,Â Christmas Which One Doesn’t Belong?* Â I do not know Susan Morrow, the author of this set – and I am certainly not getting any money for advertising her product. Â But, I think it’s a great deal. Â Quite frankly, I am very jealous of her talent ðŸ˜‰

*You can also purchase a few of the included puzzle packs separately, if you prefer.

Another idea, which I plan to try with my older kids, is to have them design some Winter Kodable mazes (similar to the app), along with the coding solutions. Â This will let them use a bit of creativity along with their logical thinking skills! (By the way, don’t forget about Hour of Code next week!)

More in this series:

## Monty the Penguin

Yes, I’m a sentimental idiot. Â Apparently I’m not alone. Â I’m one of the many whose heart has been warmed by the new John Lewis Christmas commercial for 2014, “Monty the Penguin.”

In 2013, John Lewis produced “The Bear and the Hare,” which may have been a commercial, but it was also a work of art. Â I’m not sure “Monty the Penguin” took as long to create, but it is certainly another top-notch production.

I realize, of course, that this is a commercial. Â I also am aware that many people do not celebrate Christmas. Â It could certainly beÂ argued that “Monty the Penguin”Â is just another excellent example of manipulative advertising.

But there are lessons in this video much like the ones in “The Bear and the Hare” – the power of imagination, and the value of empathy. Â And it’s truly delightful to watch.

It wouldn’t be an advertisement if it didn’t take advantage of merchandising opportunities. Â You can buy the Monty book as well as a slewÂ of other penguin paraphernalia. Â However, there are many free materials offered as well. Â There’s an interactive app and a website.

Educationally, you might find it redeeming to see that there is a link to a World Wildlife Fund page that gives information about the Adelie penguin and an easy way to “adopt a penguin.” Â You can also access activities to use with children (ages 3-11) Â on the special “Bringing Skills to Life” page that ties in to the Monty story.

I will unashamedly admit to crying at the end of the video (I dare any mother not to), but I’m not going to tell you if I bought a stuffed penguin or not after watching the commercial. There are just some secrets a girl has got to keep.