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Math On the Go! (Halloween Edition)

3 Halloween-themed Math Activities

Family life is busy. But wouldn't it be great to fill those few minutes we have of our child's undivided attention - while driving to activities or making dinner - with a fun intellectual activity? We think so too. That's why we've created 'Math on the Go:' a list of three to five math activities that we'll provide every few weeks that you can do as a family.

These activities should be scalable for age and level, so anyone should be able to participate. We encourage parents to try a few of these with your children. There's nothing that sends a message as strongly as a parent taking a vested interest in a subject. Enjoy!


   1. Halloween Costume Parade (Pre K-2)
Does your child have a costume day at school? Ask him or her to write down the names of classmates and their costumes. Come up with ways to categorize them. Were the costumes:

 - Pretty, scary, funny?
 - Store-bought or homemade?
 - A story character or a general type, like ghosts or witches?
Ask your child questions about the different categories:

 - Which category contains more costumes?
 - Did a certain grade have more ghosts or general costumes than another?
 - Were there more scary costumes than funny ones? How many more?
 - Which category is your costume in?
 - Order the categories from largest to smallest.

   2. Spooky Treasure Hunt (K-5)
Hide a small prize in a secret location. To guide your child to it, create a series of hints where each hint leads to the next.  For example, hand your child a note to look for the coldest place in the house. When your child opens the refrigerator (or freezer door), inside will be a note that says, "lliswodniw moordeb smom" which your child will have to read backwards (or hold up in front of a mirror) to decipher. The next hint can be a map of the house with the location of the next hint marked, and so on.

What's so mathematical about this activity? A lot, actually! Imagination, persistence, and creativity are the most important skills in any mathematician - and this is what your child (and you!) will be developing while seeking the spooky treasure by using their problem-solving skills. 

   3. How big is your pumpkin? (2-5)  
Start by having each family member guess the circumference of your pumpkin. Then, measure the circumference with a tape measurer. You and your child can estimate the circumference of a pumpkin with a tape measurer by wrapping a blank piece of tape around the pumpkin at its widest point. Answer the following questions together:

 - Whose estimate is closest?
 - What is the difference between the actual circumference and the closest prediction?
 - After measuring the circumference of one pumpkin, make estimates and measure several other pumpkins of different sizes.
 - Are you getting any better at estimating?
 - Are your estimates more accurate for small pumpkins or large ones?
 - What is the height of the pumpkin? What is the width? Are they equal? Is it higher or wider?

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