contents explore MicroWorlds math crafts art gallery attic grownup cats

Winter Math Idea Bank
Idea Bank index
return to the Idea Bank index
(Share your ideas, too!)

Winter Math

I've written an article at Education World with lots of winter math ideas and links, including:

  • snowflake photographs and charts
  • how to capture and preserve snowflakes
  • how to make paper snowflakes
  • online snowflake applets
  • estimation, counting, and measuring activities
  • winter glyphs
  • winter data collection and analysis
  • winter weather, polar bear, and penguin sites
See: Winter Math -

Wendy P of Math Cats, 2/1/09

- - - - -

Winter Math Ideas, excerpted from a compilation of many winter activities collected by Laura/K/TX, 12/29/00 on primary board

I will be teaching a winter unit when we return from the holidays and wanted to get a good jump on ideas I may want to use. I would like your great ideas...

Here are a few of mine...

We will play a math game that helps us dress up for winter. Children roll the correct sum using dice to dress the paper doll kid. (This is a game I made up). You could make up a similar one with any Weather Doll type kit, or of course draw your own.

by Laura/K/TX

- - - - -

Dress the Snowman

One game that I made for my class is the "Snowman Game." It teaches numeration and 1-1 relationships. I made 10 snowmen on 10 8 x 11 cards (oak tag or card stock). Each snowman has a number, 1 - 10, on his hat. These cards are laminated, but you can cover them in contact paper if you are not as fortunate as I am to have such an incredible resource. The snowmen are dressed with hat, scarf, carrot nose, broom, etc, (be creative - the more artsy you are, the "prettier" the snowmen look). I have a box of buttons available, with a miniature copy of these snowmen on the cover. The idea is to match the number of buttons to the number on the hat. If the snowman has a 6 on his hat, then the child has to put 6 buttons on the snowman. For some reason, the kids really go nuts over this. I made this based on an activity I read in one of the activity folders from Imagination Station.

Matching Game

Another activity that the kids can't seem to get enough of is our matching game. I used this for Chanukah, but you can adapt it for any occasion. For winter, I would choose five or six "winter things" like a snowman, scarf, hat, mittens, galoshes, etc, and make a grid. I used five colors across the top (red, yellow, orange, blue and green) and the six objects down the side. Then [on small cards], I colored each object in each color. For example, for the scarf, I would have five identical black and white scarves, and then color each in one of the colors that I chose. There would be a scarf to match across the entire row. That would be true for each object. if you have five objects and five colors, you would have 25 cards. Then, the children have to match the red mittens, for example, to the correct box on the grid. You'd be surprised how many children have difficulty with this.

by sharona/K/LI

- - - - -

Graph - Do you wear gloves or mittens in winter?

Predict and Compare

Take a big mitten and ask the children to estimate how many objects will fit in it. Ask a child to suggest an object that is found in the room to put in the mitten. The child puts the object into the mitten.

Continue with this process until the mitten is ready to burst.

Count the objects and compare estimates.

The children are always surprised about how many objects will fit in the mitten.

by AHolgersen

- - - - -

How much will a mitten hold?

Read The Mitten [by Jan Brett]

Display one mitten/glove from each child. The class should guess which one would hold the most unifix cubes. Then each child takes his own mitten/glove and stuffs as many unifix cubes into it as he can. (You could use any small manipulative as long as you have l-o-t-s of the same kind for everyone. However, we can stack the unifix cubes later.)

When the mitten/glove is full to the brim, each child empties out the unifix cubes and then connects them into one long train. Stand them up against a wall - on a countertop, chalk ledge, table, or floor. (Use a few strips of tape to anchor them.) Count the cubes - affix a name label above it with the amount. (Each child should make his OWN train of unifix cubes using the cubes that got stuffed into HIS mitten.)

The kids are a-l-w-a-y-s amazed at how many cubes can fit.

The winner??? ALWAYS -- the little stretchy one-size-fits- all glove!!

by Ardis

- - - - -

Mitten/Glove Survey

We graph how many people prefer to wear mittens / gloves. (We also spend time discussing the difference between mittens and gloves before we read The Mitten.)

Estimating with the guessing jar

I purchased several little snowflake ornaments and I put them in an empty peanut butter jar. The children estimate and guess how many snowflakes are in the guessing jar (I record their answers on a poster to display.) They also guess how many snowballs (large marshmallows) are in the guessing jar during week 2 of our winter theme. The children love to see how many items are REALLY in the jar when we count the items later during circle time. *(We use a guess jar every week that is theme related. It is great to see the children's responses develop as the year goes on!)

I use GUESSING JARS every week ... depending on my theme in the room, I have used plastic snowflakes, candy canes, socks, legos, crayons, shells, pretend moon rocks, dinosaurs, plastic mice, silk flowers, hearts, birthday candles, pennies, OH MY ... the list goes on and on.

Anyway ... I made small, laminated poster signs with pictures and the question "How many _______ are in the guessing jar?"
Every wee, I put these little signs at the top of a large piece of construction paper, where I then record each child's name and their guess / estimate of the number of items in the jar. (These little signs could also be laminated and folded into tabletop signs and placed next to the jars.) At circle time, later that day, we actually count the items in the jar.

*** For older children (or for preschool children later in the year) they could write their own name and/or their own numeral for their guess / estimate on the chart. (I'm also working on making a velcro name / numeral guess board for responses!) I have saved up MANY plastic peanut butter jars during the last few years to fill for guessing jars. The kids have lots of fun with this activity.

by darsue

- - - - -

Here are some more winter ideas from snowy, cold Illinois.

Measure mittens
1. We are going to use unifix cubes to measure different sizes of gloves and mittens.

Paper Snowflakes
2. I like to teach the kids how to fold paper and cut snowflakes. We use glue sticks and clear glitter to decorate them. I did this activity with 4's too; just precut some round circles to fold.

Melting Prediction
3. We put snow in a cup and ice in another and predict which will melt first...

More and Less Game
4. We play the more and less game from math their way but use winter scenes as math mats and round white counters for snowballs.

by Peggy/k

- - - - -

Compare kids' height to penguins'

We will be starting our science unit on weather when we go back (in five short days!). I tie this into a geography unit, beginning at Antarctica, moving north as we study penguins...

One of my favorite things to do when we study the penguins is to discuss the height of several different ones, from Little Blue to the Emperor. I then put pictures of the penguins with descriptive paragraphs on a bulletin board in the hall. The board is pretty low, and we put the picture at the height of each bird. I have a tape measure stapled on the side on the board, too.

We then have each child draw a picture of himself/herself and write a little paragraph. Then we measure the kids and put their pictures and paragraphs at their heights, too. It's titled, "How do you measure up?" It goes well with a math unit on measurement, too. It's fun to see kids from other classes come by and compare themselves with the penguins and with our class.

by Anne-1st-Seattle

© copyright 2000 -   Wendy Petti of Math Cats.   All Rights Reserved.