Halloween Math and Other Tricks and Treats

Halloween seems to get bigger every year. While I’m saddened to see the free-range trick-or-treating of my childhood wane, I still love the imagination with which so many young people (and their parents!) embrace the season. And, of course, in my household full of black cats, I need to put up a few appropriate decorations.

This year I had a particularly scary thought: How many calories are in a typical bag of candy collected by the children in your area? How much sugar? How much fat? It occurred to me that those questions would make excellent questions for young—or not so young—mathematicians. There are lots of options for problem solving.

First, how would you determine what is in a typical bag? Where could you get information on the composition of the various candies? Younger students could simple calculate the average number of pieces. There are lots of available worksheets for sorting, counting, and graphing candies—just do a quick search for Halloween math. But it doesn’t need to start there. Older students could address the proportion of various components. For example, how many teaspoons of sugar are equivalent to the candies in a bag? What would the total fat look like if assembled in one place? Algebra students could be challenged to create an equation to represent the calories consumed per bag.

And while you are thinking about Halloween activities, you might want to review some of the Creativiteach blog posts past. There are resources for spooky stories, Halloween Parodies, and all manner of creative options for fall days. Enjoy this spooky season!




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