Trick or Treat: How to Make This Halloween a Math Learning Experience

October 25, 2014

Halloween does not have to be all haunted houses and costumes. A few adjustments to your family’s usual routine can provide some additional math practice for your student:

  • Ask your child to do the Halloween candy budget. Ask you child to estimate how many trick-or-treaters to expect on Friday and collect a few ads from the Sunday papers on candy prices. Give the child a dollar amount and ask them to calculate the types and combinations of candy that amount of money can buy in order to give each trick-or-treater at least two pieces of candy.
  • Plan out the route and estimate the total amount of candy. Have your child stretch their spatial skills by drawing a map of the neighborhood and estimate how many houses they expect to visit on Halloween. Then, ask them to calculate how many pieces of candy they should expect to have total if they get at least one from each house, two from each house, three from each house, and so on. You can check their estimates against the actual numbers on Halloween night.
  • Bake cookies, but have your child do the proportions. Take a recipe for cookies or caramel apples for 10 to 12 people, and ask you child to use their multiplication with fractions skills to adjust the recipe for the number of kids in your neighborhood.

    Halloween Candy
    “Halloween Candy Squircle” by Elizabeth Thomsen is licensed under CC by 2.0
  • Do some post-Halloween math analysis. What was the most popular candy and what percentage of houses gave it out? You can do this for each candy, provided of course, that your child keeps a running total of houses visited in their head.

What would you add to our list? What’s your Halloween costume this year? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

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