2014 Christmas Maths / Math Lessons

OK, so it’s not Christmas YET, and I know it’s still November, but for the next seven days leading up to December 1st I’ll be posting Christmas lesson ideas (and resources) that I’ve written over the last two weeks. I’m doing this because if you want to use these, you need them before you deliver them. So…

Lesson 1: The Christmas Pixel Puzzle


A set of seven Christmas pixel-art inspired translation problems.

The spreadsheets used to make them are all in this excel file. Including the answers to a couple of the problems.


Lesson 2: Concentric Carol Circles

Ever wondered which carols are the hardest to sing for boys compared to girls? Probably not. Even so, in this lesson, students analyse the frequency of each note in a Christmas Carol, then represent their findings with a concentric circle infographic. The width of each circle represents the frequency of a particular note. Here is a finished one:

carol circle

This lesson is particularly awesome because students get to use a COMPASS (a pair of compasses for you traditionalists). How often do you get to do that? Not often. You’ll need to familiarise yourself with this lesson beforehand and get your head around how it works. You’ll also need pins (if the circles are going directly onto a wall) or some of these split pins:


If you’re worried about how much card you could end up using. you could do two-tone infographics that use just two types of card, or get students to draw all the circles onto one piece of white card then colour in alternate rings.

There are many variations to this lesson idea too, you could make them into baubles, do squares, triangles, and build weird shapes instead of doing them concentrically. Enjoy.

Carol sheets are here

PowerPoint of Instructions etc is here

Obviously you’ll want these things playing in the background 😉

Lesson 3: The Snowball Multidimensional Duel


A simple lesson where students investigate whether a two dimensional or three dimensional stick man will win a snowball fight based on how much snow they have at their disposal. Snow is organised into piles (2d and 3d shapes) and students must find the area / volumes of these shapes and convert the snow into snowballs (circles / spheres).


Worksheet              Slideshow          Answers

Lesson 4: The Right Wrapping



Students attempt to create accurate nets of 3-d presents in a bid to create the right sized and shaped wrapping paper to wrap them in, followed by a hexomino puzzle.

PowerPoint            Nets Puzzles Worksheet



Lesson 5: Straight Line Curve Christmas Cards


For this lesson, students learn how to create straight-line curves and apply their new-found skills to creating fun designs for the front of Christmas cards.


Whilst looking for fun templates, I discovered that @suffolkmaths has done something similar a few years ago here and I promptly pinched his brilliant Christmas Tree template in the PowerPoint below. Other templates were found as sketches at MathCraft (A great website by the way) and I just redid them as blanks. Students will need pencils, rulers a brain and some card. What you do with the templates at the end of the PowerPoint is up to you. Enjoy as always. Let me know if you taught the lesson and how it went.

Straight Line Curve Christmas Card


Lesson 6: The Pentomino Present Packer


In this lesson, students have to pack pentomino shaped presents into Santa’s sleighs so that they fit just right. Essentially this is just pentomino puzzles dressed up as presents! But everyone loves a good pentomino puzzle.


Templates are provided, so if you want the physical pentominoes, get printing and cutting! If not, students could just colour in the shapes of the pentominoes on the worksheet, although it would be harder for them to visualise a solution I imagine. i3


Pentomino Present Packer (Introduction)

Worksheet + answers

Lesson 7: Negative Number Games


What better time to talk about negative numbers than winter? To practice and embed the tricky skills surrounding negative numbers, I’ve created two resources. The first is a negative numbers board game based on the film Frozen. It’s fairly straight forward, and you can adapt the rules by editing the PowerPoint slides. I’m not sure you could ever actually finish the game, but that’s not the point.


Next we have a fairly standard game of Top Trumps using negative numbers, but with various characters from different aspects of Christmas cinema / television. The green cards are Christmas Villains (these are easier cards), the red are the good guys. I’ve left a blank template at the end so students could make their own, or if you want to change the questions they are fully editable.

w2 w1

Frozen negatives snakes and ladders <- this is a 9Mb file, you have been warned.

negative number Top Trumps

Well… that’s it. Seven days, seven Christmas maths resources. Just in time for the 1st of December. I won’t say Merry Christmas because… well, it’s still November.

Remembrance Day Resources

Resource 1: Poppy Origami:

Square Base tutorial With a little creativity you can do fun things with origami origami-3 There’s also the less adventurous poppy template on the British Legion website. Resource 2: Remembrance Day Maths Project A slightly overly complicated, project based on the data around remembrance day. Good as a basis for ideas. Resource 3: World War Stats Plenty of infographics here – although my favourite is here. d81bf8051f0063c4678daee6d727524c

poppyfield.org is also an excellent site with some powerful infographics on, although you’ll need to use screen prints to get them. Some great stats and graphics from actual newspapers at the time are collated here. October 6, 1915

A useful (and powerful) table of estimated casualties, prisoners, wounded and mobilised forces  sorted by country here  with a slightly different version including percentages here , and a wikipedia entry here Finally, there are plenty of charts and graphs about the war using a basic Google Search, (although I’d recommend checking them first!) or some useful data here that students could put it into excel. pwound

The BBC has recently published a nice page full of infographics and numerical data too.


Resource 4: WW1 Map A scaled map with trench lines: Western_front_1915-16 Hope these help!