2013 Advent Math from Nrich

Click the images below to visit the Advent calendars, and your children can play with math every day until Christmas! You may also enjoy:

Primary Advent Calendar

“This Advent Calendar has a new activity for each day in the run-up to Christmas. All the activities are based on the theme of Planet Earth.”

advent1

Secondary Advent Calendar

“Behind each door of the Advent Calendar is one of our favourite activities with videos. Watch and enjoy!”

advent2


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A Mathematical Advent Calendar

It’s always a challenge to keep up with homeschooling during the holiday season, but here’s a wonderful way to weave mathematics into your daily schedule: The Nrich Advent Calendars offer a fun math game or activity for every day in December until Christmas Eve. Click the image to visit the calendar that fits your student’s level.

Advent Calendar 2012 – Primary

Advent Calendar 2012 – Secondary


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Christmas Math from Vi Hart

You can find just the song here: http://vihart.com/music/gauss12days.mp3.

Carnival Reminder

Send in your submission for the Math Teachers at Play blog carnival by Wednesday night. The blog carnival website has been a little funky (though several posts have come through), so your best option is to email Roman directly.

While you’re waiting for Friday’s carnival, check out the new Carnival of Mathematics.


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Advent Math via Nrich.Maths.org

These advent calendars feature a new math puzzle or game for each day of December until Christmas. Many of the activities are designed to be done in a group, but they work fine for home school families who play with math together. Enjoy!

For Primary Students

For Secondary Students


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Graph-It Game

[Photo by Scott Schram via Flickr.]

For Leon’s Christmas gift, Alex made the Graph-It game. She wrapped a pad of graph paper and wrote up the instructions:

To play Graph-It, one person designs a picture made by connecting points on a coordinate graph. He reads the points to the other player, who tries to reproduce the picture.

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Renée’s Platonic Mobile

Alexandria Jones struggled to think of a Christmas gift that a one-month-old baby could enjoy, but finally she got an idea.

She cut empty cereal boxes to make regular polygons: 6 squares, 12 regular pentagons, and 32 equilateral triangles. Using small pieces of masking tape, she carefully formed the five Platonic solids. Then she mixed flour and water into a runny paste. She tore an old newspaper into small strips and soaked them in the paste. She covered each solid with a thin layer of paper.

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Joy to the World!

If the embedded video doesn’t work on your computer, you can find the original here: Mannheim Steamroller – ‘Joy To The World’.

My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make music.

Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.

— Psalm 57:7-11

[Taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, (c)1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.]


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Have a Mathy Christmas

A mathematical Christmas? You bet! For instance, I just noticed that Raymond Smullyan’s The Lady or the Tiger is finally back in print. My family and my math club students have enjoyed many of the puzzles in this book over the years, and I can’t think of a better stocking stuffer for the mathophile in your family.

(I do hope that means the rest of Raymond Smullyan’s puzzle books will be coming back, too!)

In the holiday gift-giving spirit, I’ve started making a list. Check out the links below for more mathematical Christmas present ideas.

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flower-flag

Christmas in July Math Problem

[Photo by Reenie-Just Reenie.]

In honor of my Google searchers, to demonstrate the power of bar diagrams to model ratio problems, and just because math is fun…

Eccentric Aunt Ethel leaves her Christmas tree up year ’round, but she changes the decorations for each passing season. This July, Ethel wanted a patriotic theme of flowers, ribbons, and colored lights.

When she stretched out her three light strings (100 lights each) to check the bulbs, she discovered that several were broken or burned-out. Of the lights that still worked, the ratio of red bulbs to white ones was 7:3. She had half as many good blue bulbs as red ones. But overall, she had to throw away one out of every 10 bulbs.

How many of each color light bulb did Ethel have?

Before reading further, pull out some scratch paper. How would you solve this problem? How would you teach it to a middle school student?

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Christmas in July?


[Photo by krisdecurtis.]

Being moderately tech-illiterate, I don’t pay much attention to SEO (Search Engine Optimization, the magic art of convincing Google to fetch me more readers). Even so, I enjoy browsing through the list of search terms that have brought visitors to my blog. Sometimes I find ideas to write about, or motivation to move an old draft off the back burner, or simply a chuckle at the funny things people look for on the Web.

This month, however, the most popular search term seems strangely out of season — more than 300 people have come to this site wanting “Christmas” or “Christmas tree.”

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Christmas Puzzle Answers

Alexandria JonesRemember the Math Adventurer’s Rule: Figure it out for yourself! Whenever I give a problem in an Alexandria Jones story, I will try to post the answer soon afterward. But don’t peek! If I tell you the answer, you miss out on the fun of solving the puzzle. So if you haven’t worked these problems yet, go back to the original post. Figure them out for yourself — and then check the answers just to prove that you got them right.

Alexandria Jones and the Christmas Present Quandary

Magic Square Puzzles

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Magic Square Puzzles

Lo-shu turtle

Alex handed her brother Leonhard a box wrapped in the rocket tessellation paper, with air holes carefully punched in two sides.

“Merry Christmas, Leon!” she said.

He ripped open the gift. Alex winced. Boys have no artistic appreciation, she thought.

“Oh, cool! Thanks,” Leon said.

“His name is Lo-shu,” said Alex. “But be careful. I used non-toxic tempera paint. The design will was off.”

Leon turned the turtle and studied the back of its shell. “Oh, that’s just like in the legend! I’ll copy it down before I let him near any water.”

  • What do the shapes on Lo-shu’s back mean?
  • Why are some dots white and some black?

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Give Thanks to the Lord, for He Is Good

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

— Isaiah 9:6-9

[Taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, (c)1973, 1978, 1984 by the International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.]


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Leon’s Christmas Gift

Lo-shu turtle

Here is the simplest puzzle from the November/December 1998 issue of Alexandria Jones stories. The answer (and more puzzles) will follow.

Christmas gift for Leon (pdf, 68KB)

Edited to Add

More puzzles are now here:

Magic square puzzles

Answers are also posted:

Christmas puzzle answers

To Be Continued…

Read all the posts from the November/December 1998 issue of my Mathematical Adventures of Alexandria Jones newsletter.


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Have more fun with Alexandria Jones:

The Golden Christmas Tree

Christmas tree farm

Last time, Alexandria Jones and her family were on their way to Uncle William’s tree farm to find the perfect Christmas tree, and Dr. Jones taught us about the Golden Section:

The \; Golden \; Section \; ratio

|———————A———————|————B————|

A \; is \; to \; B \; as \; \left(A + B \right) \; is \; to \; A, \; or . . .

\frac{A}{B}   =  \frac{A + B}{A}  = \: ?

I gave you three algebra puzzles to solve. Did you try them?

  • What is the exact value of the Golden Section ratio?

Christmas tree decorated

  • If a 7-foot tree will fit in the Jones family’s living room, allowing for the tree stand and for a star on top, how wide will the tree be?
  • Approximately how much surface area will Alex and Leon have to fill with lights and ornaments?

Math Adventurer’s Rule: Figure It Out for yourself

Whenever I give a problem in an Alexandria Jones story, I will try to post the answer soon afterward. But don’t peek! If I tell you the answer, you miss out on the fun of solving the puzzle. So if you have not worked these problems yet, go back to the original post. Figure them out for yourself — and then check the answers just to prove that you got them right.

Continue reading

Christmas Math Puzzles and Activities

by HikingArtist.com via flickr

[Update: Also check out the annual Price of Christmas Index to see what the "12 Days of Christmas" gifts would cost you this year. Or visit Advent Math via Nrich.Maths.org to play with a math activity every day until Christmas.]

We interrupt our regularly scheduled math program to bring you the following Christmas links…

First, A to Z Home’s Cool offers some fun for older students and teachers:

And now, something to keep the youngsters busy while we finish our Christmas shopping, wrapping, baking, and everything-ing:

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A-Hunting They Will Go

Christmas tree farm

Alexandria Jones and her family piled into the car for a drive in the country. This year, they were determined to find an absolutely perfect Christmas tree at Uncle William Jones’s tree farm.

“I want the tallest tree in Uncle Will’s field,” Alex said.

“Hold it,” said her mother. “I refuse to cut a hole in the roof.”

“But, Mom!” Leon whined. “The Peterkin Papers…”

“Too bad. Our ceiling will stay a comfortable 8 feet high.”

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The Christmas Present Quandary

Alexandria Jones

Alexandria Jones hated using store-bought wrapping paper at Christmas. She tried to wrap each present as a hand-crafted work of art.

Last year, she did mini-scenes with plastic figures building cotton snowmen or skating on aluminum-foil ponds — and, for her brother Leonhard’s gift, her favorite creation: toy dinosaurs having a snowball fight. But those 3-D scenes got knocked about under the Christmas tree.

This year, she decided, she would wrap the packages flat. But then, how could she make them special?

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More Fun with Hexa-Trex

Hexa-trex turtle logo

My elementary Math Club students had fun practicing their math facts and “out of the box” thinking with Hexa-Trex puzzles. The object of Hexa-Trex is to find a path through all the number and operation tiles to make a true equation. The “Easy” puzzles are just the right level for my 4th-5th grade students, although they get stumped whenever the equations require Order of Operations. One girl enjoyed the puzzles enough to take our extra pages home for her dad.

Hexa-Trex puzzles were featured in the October issue of Games magazine, and now you can enjoy Hexa-Trex away from the computer with Bogusia Gierus‘s new book, The First Book of Hexa-Trex Puzzles. If you are thinking ahead to Christmas (can it be that time already?!), and if you have a puzzle lover in the family, this little book would make a fun stocking-stuffer.


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