With pumpkins being carved and costumes being chosen, now’s the time to make math class a little bit spooky with some Halloween-themed activities.
We’ve put together a list of 7 haunted Halloween math activities that will transform your classroom into a space that’s just as eerie as it is engaging. Start building them into your lesson plans so you can make the most of the first big holiday in the school year!
These creepy crawlies will give your classroom a Halloween feel while developing students’ fact fluency. They’re super easy to make, and students can have fun decorating them to create some spine-tingling results.
Start by cutting out a circular piece of card and writing a single whole number on it. This becomes the spider’s “body”. Students then attach legs made out of long strips of card, writing a number sentence on each one that equates to the number on the body. They’ll need at least eight sums – but they might even produce a mutant with more legs than normal!
Tip: for a slightly more advanced version, you can put a number sentence on the spider’s body (instead of a single number), so students have to figure out the value first. You can also adapt the activity to suit addition and subtraction, or multiplication and division.
Team your spider sums with some spooky hanging webs. The process of sketching and templating the shape is a great geometric exercise.
Start by having students sketch a simple hexagon before dividing it up with three intersecting lines. Then, by drawing smaller hexagons within, they’ll create a perfect spiderweb. You can get eerie effects by drawing them on black paper with a silver marker, or by using a template to cut the whole shape out of a piece of card.
Tip: for a more advanced spatial/geometric awareness activity, show students the completed spiderweb first, then challenge them to break it down into its constituent shapes.
A few packs of Q Tips make can serve as the bones for a skeleton, which students can glue to a black sheet of card. The result brings geometry to life (…or maybe death).
This activity works well if you’ve already done some explicit instruction on angles. Ask them to manipulate the skeleton so its arms and legs move at right, obtuse, or acute angles. They might have to make it dance to get all three!
Cemetery Count Ups
Q Tip bones can also give basic counting activities a Halloween spin. Students can keep a tally by gluing the bones to a sheet of black paper and turning each lot of five into a gravestone. They’ll end up with a chilling cemetery and a freaky frequency table!
Numerical sorting hats
A few witch’s hats from the dollar or costume store will allow students to practice their grouping or pattern skills. Give students two hats and a series of cards with number sentences or digits on them. They then have to put them into the correct hat depending on the categories you decide. For example:
- prime or composite numbers
- proper or improper fractions
- odds or evens
- multiples of x or not multiples of x.
Some discount stores also sell pumpkin-shaped bowls, which will work just as well.
Tricks and treats
Trick or treat season might be the best time to let your students dip into the candy jar, but make sure they do a math “trick” for you first! Ask quick questions in class and give them a treat when they answer correctly.
Keep it random so no one feels singled out. A good way to do this is via the popsicle method. Each student decorates a popsicle stick with their name (don’t forget to make it Halloween themed), which then goes into the teacher’s jar. Pull out a name, choose a question, and see how they go!
Create a ghostly worksheet where an invisible answer key magically appears once students are finished! Here’s how:
- Create a worksheet of math questions and draw a ghost under each.
- Under each question, use a white crayon to write the answer inside the ghost.
- Students then complete the worksheet, making sure to write their answers beneath the ghosts.
- When they’re done, they can lightly shade in each ghost with a dark-coloured pencil. The answers will magically appear in white!
If you’ve got the resources on hand and aren’t worried about a bit of mess, your students can also use watercolor paints to reveal the answers. Just make sure you don’t hand it over until they’ve finished every question, so they aren’t tempted to peek!
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