What if I told you that Halloween celebrations can be fun and educational at the same time! Having been a teacher for seven years, I can relate to not having time to shake a stick, let alone to celebrate Halloween! So, I’ve put together a few Halloween math activities to satisfy teaching and learning needs, and spooky needs all at the same time.
Spooky Math Center Activities
These cool Halloween math activities are perfect for math centers. On the other hand, you might prefer to choose one activity to explore as a whole class.
So, before you launch yourself into a pumpkin frenzy of Halloween math activities, make sure that you get clear on:
- Which activity or activities best suit your class?
- How you are going to set it up – whole class or as math centers?
- Will you choose one activity or multiple activities?
- Where you are going to get pumpkins from? Reach out to the school community for pumpkin donations (they can be pricey).
First up…the pumpkin geoboard. I love this! This measurement and geometry activity is super easy to set up and your students will go batty over it! Geoboards are brilliant learning tools for exploring basic concepts such as perimeter, area and the characteristics of triangles and other polygons.
You will need:
- a small pumpkin
- push pins
- colorful rubber bands
How to Make a Pumpkin Geoboard:
- press push pins into the skin of a pumpkin. Provide your students with brightly colored rubber bands.
- Remind your students that a polygon is any 2-dimensional shape formed with straight lines.
- Demonstrate how to how to secure the rubber bands around the pins to create polygons.
- Encourage your students to work with a partner or a small group to explore triangles and other polygons.
Measure the Circumference
This simple and fun Halloween math activity can be adapted for lower to upper grades. For lower grades, focus on informal units of measure and for middle and upper grades, use a measuring tape. Extend student learning by converting measurements, comparing and finding the difference between pumpkins, and graphing your results!
You will need:
- one or more pumpkins of varying size
- ribbon or string
- paper clips
- measuring tape.
Firstly, explain to your students that the circumference of a circle or sphere is the distance around it. For a rich learning experience be sure to ask open-ended questions and build in lots of class discussion. For example ask:
- How could we measure the circumference of the pumpkin?
- What challenges might we face?
- How do measurements vary and compare?
- Why do the results vary?
Measure the Capacity
Students often find it hard to estimate the capacity of containers. And the best way to develop knowledge and understanding of this tricky concept is with hands-on learning. So, this Halloween why not estimate and measure and compare the capacity of pumpkins!
There’s Not much to explain here. Most importantly, remember to explain the difference between volume and capacity. Also, don’t forget to explore how containers of different shapes can have the same capacity!
For lower years, take a looks at our hugely popular unit plan Measuring Capacity with Informal Units.
Measuring the Mass of a Pumpkin
For lower grades, use balancing scales to compare the masses of small pumpkins or pumpkin portions. Encourage your students to determine whether the mass of the pumpkin is more, less, or about the same. Get your weekends back by using our Measuring Mass with Informal Units Unit Plan.
For Middle to upper grades, introduce electronic bathroom scales to measure the mass of a whole pumpkin. Next, encourage your students to identify and use the correct operation to convert units of measurement. Use our Converting Customary Units of Measurement Posters or our Converting Metric Units of Measurement Posters to support teaching and learning.
Head to our Mass Collection for more helpful teaching resources to use in conjunction with your Halloween math activities.
So as you can see, it’s easy to get spooky without losing sight of learning!
Try them all this Halloween!
By setting up these math center activities, you could possibly be the smartest and spookiest teacher around! Don’t forget to photograph your Halloween math activities in action!
For more Halloween teaching resources, head to our Halloween Collection.