A Thanksgiving Math Activity Your Upper Grade Students Will Thank You For!

August 8, 2023 No Comments

Okay, big question?!

Do you have the entire week of Thanksgiving off? Or do you teach up until the big day itself?

In my teaching travels, I’ve experienced both. And teaching students the week of Thanksgiving can be a challenge. They are so excited about the big holiday but I am preoccupied with making sure my grocery list is complete.

Well, one day my obsession over my own Thanksgiving meal planning led me to think about creating a Thanksgiving math activity where my students did the same thing! That is how this engaging and standards-based math project was created (Learn more about math projects here)!

This real-world math activity, available in both decimal numbers and whole numbers, helped me to engage my students during the busy and exciting lead-up to Thanksgiving break and it created a little bit of gratitude in my students for how much work goes into that yummy meal they eat each year.

So let’s explore this sanity-saving math project, so you can simplify your teaching life and leave the planning for your actual Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving math activity that will engage your upper elementary students.

Plan a Thanksgiving Dinner Math Project

In this Thanksgiving math activity, your students are in charge of planning the Thanksgiving feast! But there’s a twist — they’re not just figuring out what delicious dishes to serve. They also need to calculate how many servings they need, how much of each dish they need to make, create a grocery list, calculate the cost of their groceries, and figure out the meal’s calories.

This is a real-world math project that requires students to add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers! Available with both whole numbers and decimal numbers this project requires students to use their math skills in a realistic and meaningful way.

Plus, it’s a festive activity that will help them to appreciate just how much work goes into planning that delicious meal they eat each year!

Students plan the servings and amount of food they need to fix in this Thanksgiving math activity.

Thanksgiving Math Activity: Let’s Get Planning!

If you’ve ever cooked a Thanksgiving meal you know that planning is half the battle. In this project, students need to decide what food they want to make and how much food they need to prtoder to feed all their guests.

This Thanksgiving math activity comes with 15 different traditional Thanksgiving recipes that students can use to plan their meals. It included everything from turkey to mashed potatoes, to pies! Each student’s meal will look different and that’s part of the fun.

Students make a grocery list based on the amount of servings and food they have selected in this Thanksgiving math activity.

Thanksgiving Math Activity: Let’s Shop!

Once students have planned out their meals and how much food they need to prepare, it’s time to grocery shop.

This Thanksgiving math activity includes 2 different grocery ads that students can use to calculate and compare their shopping totals. By using the ads, students can figure out which store is offering the best deals and put together a shopping list that will help them save money.

Students use 2 different ads to compare grocery lists and decide where they want to shop in this Thanksgiving math activity.

Thanksgiving Math Activity: Count Those Calories!

Do calories at Thanksgiving even count? Well, when we’re working on our math skills they do. Students can use the recipes to calculate the total calories and calories per serving of the dishes in this Thanksgiving math activity. They also can use the serving information to calculate each guest’s meal calories.

Students can calculate the meal calories with these pages in this Thanksgiving math activity.

Thanksgiving Math Activity: Spice it Up!

Use your grocery lists! Have students bring in their family recipes! Not interested in completing one part of the project? No worries, just leave it out!

This Thanksgiving math activity comes with all the things you need to complete, but it is also easy to change it up and make it work for you and your class.

The directions are full of ideas on how you can make this project even more personable and work for your upper elementary students.

Use this Thanksgiving math activity as an engaging way to get students doing math with a festive spin.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get cooking!

Grab this Thanksgiving Math Project in…

Thanksgiving Dinner Math Project – Decimal Numbers

Thanksgiving Dinner Math Project – Whole Numbers

This project is easy to use and so versatile. Have students complete it independently, with a partner, or in a group. Plug it into your math centers, small group time, morning work, enrichment, and more!

So, what are you waiting for? Pop this Thanksgiving math activity in your lesson plans and start planning on how you are going to cook that big bird this year!

Use this FREE place value differentiation toolkit to support your students while completing this Thanksgiving math activity.


Amanda Stitt

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I’m a mom, military spouse, and teacher trying to find the elusive balance of everything going on in life. I am passionate about helping teachers feel supported and equipped to meet the needs of their unique learners. Thanks for stopping by and let’s start teaching together! Read More

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