## Thanksgiving Can be a Numbers Holiday

Thanksgiving Day is finally here,

A time for family and food.

The holiday when you count your blessings.

A roasted turkey takes center stage,

And glazed carrots round out the meal.

So take this chance to teach your kids,

The math behind each peel.

Thanksgiving can be a numbers game – literally. Here are some fun ways to use the holiday to teach and reinforce basic math concepts.

Sorting: Make a list of typical Thanksgiving foods and ask your family “learners” to sort and group the items. Ask how they would sort them to avoid the appearance of only one “correct” way to sort:  size; color; “foods” we drink versus foods we eat; foods they love versus foods they’re forced to try; etc.

Temperature: Using a thermometer is an important part of making sure a turkey is thoroughly cooked. Grab a thermometer and measure the temperature of food in and out of the refrigerator. If your young family member is in the kitchen when you’re roasting the bird, let her/him – carefully – take its temperature or read the thermometer when you stick it into different sections of the turkey.  Depending on the age of the young person ask if they know whether the temperature is in degrees Fahrenheit or Centigrade and what the difference is.  Give an older learner the opportunity to convert to the other scale from the one on the temperature tool poked into the turkey.

Division: How many pounds does your turkey weigh, and how many people must it feed? How much turkey can each person receive? If there’s a vegetarian in the group, how does that affect turkey portions?

Multiplication: Mashed potatoes, yams, and carrots provide a great opportunity to practice multiplication. If each guest eats a ½ cup of mashed potatoes, how many spuds will you need? Making pumpkin pie usually requires purchasing canned pumpkin.  Estimate how many pumpkins are needed to create a small can/large can of pumpkin?  If you have an old Halloween pumpkin have them cook the pumpkin and try to figure it out.

Budget:  Learners in upper elementary, MS or HS could calculate the total spent on the Thanksgiving dinner and then determine the cost per person.  Go over the receipts of the items purchased directly for the Thanksgiving dinner.  Then have them search the internet for the “cost of Thanksgiving dinner in 2017” compared to prior years.  A “market basket” comparison requires keeping the types of items the same to determine the change in the cost of living.  They may have to recalculate the items purchased that are in the standard market basket in the articles located.

If you have other ideas, please send them to numbers@numbersalive.org.  Have a wonderful and tasty Thanksgiving!