Tomorrow is December 1st. With my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, just over, everyone is now turning their thoughts to Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. One of my grandsons’ favorite Christmas songs is the Twelve Days of Christmas. In honor of this song I am creating The Twelve Days of Mathematics for Christmas. There are activities for K-3. Intermediate – MS (grade 4 – grade 7), and Secondary (Grade 8 –Grade 12) and correlated to the number of the day. Check below for the links to the FREE resources for both TES US and TES UK.
The Twelve Days of Mathematics
Day 1: A Partridge in a Pear Tree
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.
We begin with the number 1.
http://www.archimedes-lab.org/numeral.html has a table showing the digits from 0 to 9 in five different notations from India to Europe. Be sure to read the entire article. Having students reflect on these different notations and write about why they think each of these representations was used can be an interesting and thought-proving activity as well as a way to interject authentic writing into the mathematics classroom.
The number 1 serves many useful and vital functions in mathematics today. It is the beginning of the natural numbers where primary mathematicians first begin counting. The concepts of “one more” and “one less” are pivotal in students working with patterns in counting and developing fluency with counting on or counting back from any number.
One is the identity element of multiplication. Any number multiplied by one is itself. One as an exponent maintains the identity of the base. One as a coefficient is understood. Even one as a representation for the Pythagorean Identity:
The Story of One documentary film by Terry Jones http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/story-of-one/ offers an informative and entertaining look at the number 1 as well as some other notable numbers such as zero. The video is about an hour in length, but there is lots of great information for students of all ages. Note: some of this is very “tongue in cheek” but that is part of its intrigue. Be sure to watch it first yourself as there are references to the death of Archimedes for example.
The activities suggested for the three grade bands can be used in large group, small group – learning station or center, or as bell ringers, journal prompts, etc. Glance at each of the activities as the timed writing for the Secondary level would be just as applicable to the other grade bands. Also the Intermediate-MS activity could easily be adapted for the other two grade bands.
Enjoy the first day of Mathematics and check back tomorrow for Day 2!
Links for TES US:
The 12 Days of Christmas K – 3 Day 1: https://www.tes.com/us/teacher-lessons/the-12-days-of-mathematics-for-christmas-day-1-k-3-11175629
The 12 Days of Christmas Intermediate – MS Day 1: https://www.tes.com/us/teacher-lessons/12-days-of-mathematics-for-christmas-day-1-intermediate-middle-school-11175607
The 12 Days of Christmas Secondary Day 1: https://www.tes.com/us/teacher-lessons/the-12-days-of-mathematics-for-christmas-day-1-secondary-11175634
Links for TES UK:
The 12 Days of Christmas K – 3 Day 1: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/the-12-days-of-mathematics-for-christmas-day-1-k-3-11175632
The 12 Days of Christmas Intermediate – MS Day 1: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/12-days-of-mathematics-for-christmas-day-1-intermediate-middle-school-11175614
The 12 Days of Christmas Secondary Day 1: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/the-12-days-of-mathematics-for-christmas-day-1-secondary-11175637