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The twelve resources of ChristMATHS

Published: Dec 1, 2016 3 min read

Mike Anderson

Mathematics Subject Specialist

National STEM Learning Centre

12 days of Christmas

STEM Learning's Christmas present to you is a collection of the best Christmas-themed mathematics resources to get your students really thinking about mathematics in the festive period.  

1. The 12 days of Christmas

How many presents did ‘my true love’ give altogether in the song? How many French Hens? These, and other innovative questions, are asked in Chapter 12 of this Task Maths exercise book. The song can be used to explore the triangle numbers, just as in this sparky teaching resource. It can also be used to help explore algebraic expressions and equations.

2. The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures

The year is 1978, Boney M. are set to be Christmas number 1 and Sir Christopher Zeeman delivers his Christmas lectures covering the nature of mathematics and the mathematics of nature. You can watch all of the videos on the Ri Channel.

3. Christmas Tangrams

Can your students make the complete set of Christmas tangrams (including Christmas candles, trees, ice-skaters and other characters) using a standard 7-piece tangram? These designs and others can then be used to make a series on mathematics-based Christmas cards.

4. Be a mathematician this Christmas

BEAM resources aim to make mathematics interesting, challenging and enjoyable. With these resources students can plot coordinates to make a Christmas picture, or construct a tally chart from the range of musical notes in Jingle Bells.

5. Festive fractals

It’s cold outside- so get students to explore the patterns and sequences generated by the von Koch Snowflake in this resource from the Department for Education. Your students might enjoy going even further by making their very own fractal Christmas tree courtesy of Think Maths!

6. Speedy Santa

In this Bowland assessment task, students are asked to calculate the average amount of time Santa can spend in each house in the UK on Christmas Eve. Can he do it?

7. Festive board game

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a board game making an appearance. This Christmas themed game is a starting point- can your students make their own?

8. Christmas puzzles

From the National Centre for Excellent Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) Secondary Magazine, these four seasonal puzzles were originally posed in 1917 and provide a series of rich starting points for yuletide mathematical exploration.

9. What’s on your Christmas list?

This activity asks students to calculate the cost of a family Christmas list. They are given a set budget and have to decide which items to buy and which to leave out as well as finding out how many hours would need to be worked to afford the presents on the lists.

10. Party time!

In this Christmas party planning problem-solving activity students carry out a range of calculations in order to plan a Christmas event party for a number of people within a specific budget.

11. Winter Mathematics

This Shropshire Centre for Mathematics education resource consists of  28 winter-themed activities. The investigations, puzzles and games cover Carroll Diagrams (get it?), Venn diagrams, logic puzzles, shape, symmetry and more.

12. Yuletide resources from around the internet

Check out these six NRICH Christmas-themed problem-solving resources. In addition, Suffolk maths have an extensive list of seasonal activities, as do others such as Mr Barton, MathsCareers, MEI, The Guardian and Transum.

If you would like to share your Christmas-themed mathematics resources and lesson ideas, why not share them in our secondary mathematics community group?

Merry ChristMATHS one and all!


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