Fall Math Activities

These activities were designed to introduce or reinforce important math concepts and skills using seasonal themes. This is a natural fit for elementary classrooms where teachers and students celebrate the various holidays with literature and art projects. These activities allow teachers to also incorporate math activities that develop and support important mathematical concepts and skills.

Spider Activities

Each of these games and activities capitalize on students' fascination with spiders at Halloween time.   The games/activities develop mathematical concepts using a seasonal theme.

Bat Math

Bats are a common theme at Halloween.   Use these resources to capitalize on student interest in bats and develop student understanding of common mathematical patterns.

Seasonal Counting & Addition Mats

Seasonal mats are a welcome addition to the classroom math center. Teachers may use these in a number of ways to help students master math skills:

Fall Glyphs

Each of these glyphs capture data about students in a visual mode.   Students should analyze the class data by creating tally charts, Venn diagrams, bar graphs, etc. and writing about what they learned from looking at the glyphs of their classmates.

Fall Coordinate Graphing Activities

These activities require students to use coordinate pairs to correctly color in the squares of the grid to create a fall picture.

More Seasonal Coordinate Graphing Resources

Consult these teacher resources for additional coordinate graphing activities, especially for the holidays. Look through closets as these are oldies-but-goodies. These activities introduce young math students to coordinate graphing and allow teachers to plan seasonal math activities that effectively develop math skills and concepts.

Fall Problem Solving

These open-ended assessments require students to apply mathematical concepts and skills to solve problems and explain their thinking using words, pictures and numbers.

  • Candy Corn presents a triangular numbers problem using a candy corn pattern. Younger students might use candy corn to model the problem. A sample solution shows how older students might use an input-output table to model the pattern and find the solution without the use of manipulatives.
  • Younger students will enjoy analyzing and completing Fall Patterns. They should then classify the pattern and explain their reasoning as part of the class discussion. It is possible that students will see different patterns in some of the items so their explanation and justification are very important mathematical discourse.
  • Annual Fall Parade challenges students to use the triangular pattern to figure out how many students are in the fourth grade. Given the number of full rows, students must apply the pattern and use effective recording (picture, table, etc.) to explain their reasoning.
  • Solve Insect and Spider Problems. Given the number of legs and heads, students must figure out how many are insects (6 legs) and how many are spiders (8 legs). The pdf file is formatted to print out individual problem cards that may be placed in a math center for student use. Answer key cards are also included.
    • NOTE: A very effective strategy is for students to assume that all heads are insects and determine how many legs were used. Then they distribute the leftover legs, 2 to each insect to create spiders until all of the legs are used.
    • Students might also use the Insect and Spider Problem Spreadsheet as a strategy that uses technology to help in problem solving. Right click on the link and save the spreadsheet to your computer for easy classroom use. The spreadsheet is already configured for student use. They should only type in the yellow spaces as the spreadsheet will compute the other columns. Use an overhead monitor or projection system to model using the spreadsheet.
  • Challenge students to figure out how many things you receive in total during The Thirteen Days of Halloween or the simpler version renamed the Twelve Days of Halloween.
  • Motivate students to try their hand at some code-breaking with Crypto-Lists for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
  • See Pumpkin Problem Solving from the Fall 2005 collection involves repeating patterns, discrete math, Pascal's triangle and combinations.
  • More Fall Problem Solving from the Fall 2006 collection includes Halloween word problems, Fall fraction words, Pascal's Bats and problems that require the use of an input-output table to analyze the pattern.

Fall Math-Literature Connections

Many books may be used as a springboard for mathematical discussions and activities. These are included to integrate fall themes into mathematics:

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat by Lucille Colandro

The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle

Ten Apples Up on Top by Theo Le Sieg

After enjoying the book, and counting the apples on the various pages, have students create counting booklets with a page for each number 1-10. They may draw that many apples on their head.

Create the fall sequel booklet, Ten Pumpkins Up on Top, in which students balance pumpkins on their heads. The pdf file contains a cover and a sample student page that may be copied so that students can draw pictures of themselves in costume, balancing 10 pumpkins. Or, create a class counting booklet with each student balancing increasing numbers of pumpkins, as assigned.

Additional Seasonal Math Activities on Mathwire.com

These math activities are organized by seasons.   Elementary teachers often incorporate seasonal activities as craft projects.   Many of these seasonal craft projects can be mathematical as well with a little forethought.   Browse the activities for projects to add that reinforce mathematical concepts and skills through seasonal and holiday themes.

Links to Fall Math Activities on the Internet

Teachers can find many shared activities on the internet. These activities integrate mathematical ideas using fall materials and themes. The activities address multiple mathematical strands (e.g. measurement, number sense, probability, estimation, money, data collection, etc.), making it possible for teachers to plan effective mathematics instruction that also captures students' seasonal interest. Use or modify the lessons to fit the needs of your students. Build upon the ideas shared by other teachers through internet sites. These are presented in alphabetical order by activity title.