Thanksgiving Mathematics

Many of you have only two days of school next week and your students will surely be thinking about the Thanksgiving holiday. Here are a few Thanksgiving/Math ideas to weave into your lessons:

The Marathon Meal ( I have posted this before but it is a favorite of mine. Try asking younger students to calculate how many miles they will have to walk to burn off the items they plan to eat this Thursday!

Thanksgiving by the Numbers

Here are just a few Thanksgiving facts brought to us by the US Census Bureau:

242 million
The number of turkeys expected to be raised in the United States in 2010. That’s down 2 percent from the number raised during 2009. The turkeys produced in 2009 together weighed 7.1 billion pounds and were valued at $3.6 billion.

735 million pounds
The forecast for U.S. cranberry production in 2010. Wisconsin is expected to lead all states in the production of cranberries, with 435 million pounds, followed by Massachusetts (195 million). New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington are also expected to have substantial production, ranging from 14 million to 53 million pounds.

Number of places in the United States named Plymouth, as in Plymouth Rock, the landing site of the first Pilgrims. Plymouth, Minn., is the most populous, with 72,849 residents in 2009; Plymouth, Mass., had 56,842. There is just one township in the United States named “Pilgrim.” Located in Dade County, Mo., its population was 126 in 2009. And then there is Mayflower, Ark., whose population was 2,257 in 2009.

Check out this website for more interesting facts about Thanksgiving (

Traveling for the holiday? Here is a brief article from The Independent (UK):

Travel by the Numbers: Thanksgiving

One final idea: Save all of those “Black Friday” sale fliers that you will find in Thursday’s paper. They make for wonderful activities involving percents, decimals, discounts, etc.

I hope all of you have a safe, happy and RESTFUL Thanksgiving!

This entry was posted in Articles for Math Class, Holiday Math, Math Activities, Student Engagement and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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