Santa can bring more than just presents to your family this year, if you know what to ask for! Take advantage of the season by incorporating some math into the holidays with these five ideas, provided by Kevin Judd, Vice President of Whizz Education and creator of the online math tutor, Math Whizz. The former math teacher believes that there’s no time like the holidays to squeeze in some memorable math games
1) Calculate Santa’s Postal Bills
The elves much be hard at work up in the North Pole, because the U.S. Postal Service estimates that Santa receives 1 million letters every year, with half of them coming from New York, NY. Work with your child to figure out the estimated $440,000 spent on stamps each year. Makes you wonder when Santa’s going to start using e-mail!
2) Map the Distance to the North Pole
Whip out a map to show your child where you live in relation to the North Pole, and then ask him to guess how many miles Santa will have to travel to reach your house. Teach him how to measure the distance with the map key to figure out the real distance. How close did they come? You can even take this opportunity to discuss the principles of latitude and longitude.
3) Across Time Zones
Every year, folks at NORAD Santa track Santa during Christmas Eve. Visit the web site with your child and discuss the 24 different time zones he crosses. Pondering Santa’s leap across the globe teaches them how to calculate the time zones in other countries when Santa is in another part of the world.
4) Count the Calories in Santa’s Cookies
Research your local population to estimate how many children Santa has to visit in your area. If Santa visits 5,000 homes and consumes one chocolate chip cookie at each, and if they are about 100 calories each, how many calories will Santa eat at the end of the night? Don’t forget that half of cup of skim milk per house is an extra 40 calories. That’s a lot of snacks! Good thing Santa moves faster than the speed of light.
5) Reindeer Games
How many hooves will be on the roof when Santa comes? How many watts of power does it take to burn Rudolph’s nose all night? Did you know that reindeer antlers can range up to 53” long and 39” wide? According to the Alberta Reindeer Association, reindeer need to eat 2.1% of their body weight every day. If the average reindeer weighs about 300 pounds, how much food does it need?
Even Santa's journey around the world can be a number’s game if you put on your thinking cap. These five ideas are just some of the ways to add learning to a holiday, and the best part is, they can be customized to fit the age range of any child.
Whizz Education, Inc. is creator of the award-winning, online math tutoring program, Math-Whizz, for grades K-8. For more information about Math-Whizz, visit http://www.whizz.us.