doing math for santa

Doing the Math for Santa

Christmas is coming and it is getting harder for kids to think of anything else. This makes math tutoring harder because kids aren’t focused on math. Though it might seem futile to refocus kids on their math, this time of year actually presents some opportunities to show how math can be used in their lives.

A game can be made of trying to figure out how much Santa would need to spend and where he can get the best prices along with time frames of when he can get them. Kids will love helping Santa find ways to save time and money on the presents they want.

For this fun type of math coaching, have each child make a list of the presents they want Santa to bring them. The list should be in order from the most important to the least important. Santa has to has to give a lot of presents to a lot of kids so he needs help in budgeting time and money of finding and getting all the presents he needs to get.

Once the lists are made, each child can use the internet to find the best prices for each item on their lists, making note of where the best price is and whether it is on sale for a limited time. Since Santa will be picking up the gifts himself, he will need the physical store location so that will need to be part of the information each child compiles for his list. The second best price for each item should also be listed since the next part of the exercise is about helping Santa save time on picking up all the items on the list.

The reason Santa will be picking up all the items himself is that it takes so long for packages to be delivered to the North Pole. He doesn’t want to risk not getting them in time to give them to the kids who want them. This means he needs to use routes that save time. Now that the kids in math tutoring have made their lists and have at least two prices with locations, they will map out a route for Santa so he can pick them up in the quickest way possible.

On a map, have each child mark where each item can be found, using a different color for the lowest price and the second lowest price. They can use a city, county, state or national map, whichever they choose. Base the speed on highway speeds and have the kids figure out how long it takes to get from one point to another on their maps and mark the best route to save time. This is where the kids may find it best to use the second lowest price on some things as it may take longer to get to the place where the lowest price is. Kids will need to decide if the price difference is worth taking more time to get there.

With this game, kids will have fun and be learning how math can be used in their lives. Definitely a math coaching success.

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