Operation Turkey

Standards Met: CCSS.Math.Content.2.OA.B.2; 3.OA.C.7

What You Need: Plastic cups or toilet paper rolls, tape, markers, craft sticks, turkey templates, food coloring, whiteboards and dry-erase markers or pencils and paper

What to Do: Former teacher Jillian Riley enjoys sharing smart, fun activities through her blog, A Mom With a Lesson Plan, and practicing math operations with turkey-themed crafts is one of her favorites. Before beginning the lesson, she prepares the “turkeys” and “feathers” as follows.

She begins by writing one number on each turkey template. These numbers are the answers for the math facts kids will practice. For example, if they are working on addition or subtraction facts 0–20, the turkeys will show numbers within this range. If they are working on multiplication facts, the turkeys may show multiples of each number from 0 to 12.

After labeling and cutting out the turkey templates, Riley tapes one template onto each cup (you could also use toilet-paper rolls, as pictured above). Then, she writes number sentences on colorful craft sticks—the “feathers.” Before the activity, she dyes each stick with either red, yellow, or orange food coloring; each stick should display one problem that will match with one turkey cup. If you want students to work in small groups or pairs, prepare several sets of cups and craft sticks.

After distributing cups, craft sticks, and whiteboards and dry-erase markers (or pencils and paper), have students take turns choosing a craft stick, solve the problem listed, and put the stick in the appropriate cup. They then write down the facts they’ve solved.

As an extension, students can create their own problems for others to solve. Make them more complicated by introducing multiple operations in a single problem or by including fractions.


It’s a Piece of Pie!

Standard Met: CCSS.Math.Content.3.NF.A.1

What You Need: Paper plates, scissors, construction paper, crayons, glue sticks, pencils

What to Do: In this activity, students create “pies” for Thanksgiving made up of sections of their favorite types.

Before beginning, prepare orange, red, tan, and blue construction paper as follows: Cut circles of each color of paper that will fit the flat portion of the paper plate. Students will need between two and four circles in different colors.

Start the activity by having a brief discussion about fractional pieces of a whole. Draw example figures split into fractional pieces for children to reference. Then, have each child color the outside (fluted) portion of a paper plate brown to represent the pie crust. Next, students pick circles of construction paper to represent their favorite types of pie (orange = pumpkin, red = apple, tan = pecan, blue = blueberry). They should choose at least two types of pie.

They will then decide which types  of pie will go into making up their total pie. For example, if a student likes pumpkin the best, followed by apple and then pecan, she may place half a circle of orange paper, three-eighths of a circle of red paper, and one-eighth of a circle of tan paper on her plate. Students can create these fractional parts by folding their circles in half as many times as needed. More advanced learners may consider how to fold circles into thirds or sixths.

They complete their pies by gluing the sections onto their paper plates and writing in the appropriate fractions on the pie slices. Have them calculate the pie preferences of two or three other students to finish.