If you’re looking for some hands-on December math activities that tie in well with a gingerbread man unit or your holiday lessons and projects, I have some fun ideas for gingerbread math activities that your class will love!
Decorating for Data
Decorating gingerbread man cookies to generate data is a yearly favorite and can be done using real gingerbread cookies or a construction paper cut-out. This data and graphing project begins with making a glyph.
We generate data by decorating our cookies, real or paper, according to a glyph key. Each item represents something about the child who made it.
I have students put their name on the back of the paper or the plate, then mix them up and pass out a new glyph to each child. Students draw and interpret their (secret) classmate’s glyph.
This example shows a paper glyph version. I like to include a writing element for students to explain how they determined their answers.
After interpreting a friend’s glyph, students pass the glyph back to it’s maker. We get ready to graph by having students take one bite of their cookie or snip off a “bite” with scissors. We then create a class graph depicting which body part everybody bit first.
Students add a card to the correct category. Afterwards, they show the data on the class graph in 3 ways by making a tally table, pictograph, and a bar graph.
Small groups of students use graph chat cards to discuss the data on their graphs. They compare and analyze their graphs by solving addition, subtraction, and comparing problems as well as answering questions about their data.
Animate Your Glyphs Using ChatterPix
Want to send your kids over the top? Animate your glyphs. I’m telling you, your class will love it!
ChatterPIX is one of my favorite apps to use in the classroom. It can be used in so many ways and for every subject. It’s a great one for having students give facts about a topic or a key figure in history, interpret a glyph or graph, and to justify their thinking or explain a strategy they used to solve a math problem. It is so much fun for kids and it never fails to send the engagement factor soaring! I’ve used ChatterPix for math while teaching shapes and used it as an extension activity for opinion writing. The possibilities are endless.
The ChatterPIX app is quick and easy to use on an iPad. After downloading the app, take a picture of the student’s cookie. Next, the student records their voice as they interpret and explain what each item represents on their glyph. It is so much fun and has become a must-do during our gingerbread math activities.
Gingerbread Man Glyphs
Some years I find that I don’t have time to scout out gingerbread man cookies so we make construction paper glyphs instead. If you are looking for real cookies though, I’ve found the larger ones at lots of places over the years. Michael’s, Ross, Marshall’s, Joanne Fabrics, and Sam’s Club have all had them and sometimes I can find them at my local grocery store. I’ve even had parents volunteer to bake them in the past.
When using paper glyphs I have students use a pair of scissors to snip off one “bite” before graphing. One good thing about using paper glyphs is that they make a great December bulletin board hanging around your class graph. I’m all for an easy hallway display!
I’ve combined all of these activities in an easy-to-prep resource with multiple versions of the student pages for Kindergarten, first, and second grade. It also includes all of the chart parts to make the graph plus a 1-page color and cut version of the gingerbread man glyph in case you’re low on construction paper or want to keep it simple.
I save this graphing project for the last week of school before break and have done it a few different ways. I’ve used real cookies some years and construction paper cut-outs in other years. Either way you go it is always a huge hit. Some years I’ve made it an afternoon long activity. Other years I’ve split the activities between two afternoons. It depends on my class and what else we have going on.
Gingerbread Math With Pop-Up Cards
This next idea is an easy one to add to your gingerbread math activities. Pop-up cards are simple to make and can be used in lots of different ways in the classroom. All you need is a sheet of copy paper to get started.
These pop-up cards are a fun way for students to write, illustrate and solve word problems in any grade level. Teach students to make their own with these steps:
- Fold a sheet of paper in half
- Make two cuts about 1 inch long in the middle of the fold.
- Open the paper and push the cut section to the front.
- Make a crease at the end of each cut to form a box.
And there you have it! I hope these gingerbread math activities help you out during December and add fun to your holiday lessons. If you like them, why not share with other teachers? Go ahead and pin them on Pinterest or share on Facebook.
Looking for gingerbread literacy ideas? See How the Gingerbread Man Turned My Readers Into Thinkers in this post. Find ways to keep everybody engaged and still learning in ‘Twas The 5 Days Before Christmas Break… Need Easy Parent Gift Ideas? I’ve got you covered!
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