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Halloween Math Activities: That's My Monster

By Nim

Trying to scare up an inventive way of using Halloween themes to teach third grade-level content? These Halloween math activities deliver creative activities that are so fun your students will be surprised it's still math.

Halloween Math Activities: Probability Lesson Plan

In third grade, probability is a popular subject, but in this activity you can triple the enjoyment and use it as a Halloween tie-in, . You will need a spinner, a checklist, paper, and crayons. Most classrooms will have spinners that can easily be modified for this lesson, or you can make your own.

To make your own spinners:

1. Draw a circle (or have students draw this using a compass).

2. Divide the circle in half.

3. Leave one half untouched, but break the other half into two equal parts.

4. Leave one of the fourths untouched, but break the other fourth into two equal parts.

To complete your spinner, or modify existing supplies:

1. Label the largest portion with the number 3. (If you are modifying, just put a piece of duct tape over the center and draw a 3 on the tape using marker.)

2. Label the second biggest portion with the number 1.

3. Label the last two, equal-sized, portions with the numbers 2 and 4.

4. If a spinner is needed, use a paper clip, with a pencil tip held at the center of the circle to keep the spinner in place.

Introductory Probability Lesson Plan

As with any new math manipulative, students will be eager to test out this "toy". Allow them a few minutes to become acquainted with their spinners, recording the results as they practice on a paper or a dry erase board. Encourage them to think in probability terms by asking a few questions:

What number do you think will appear the most often? The least often? If everyone in the class took one turn to spin, what number would turn up the most?

After allowing for experimentation, gather the students' attention for a whole class lesson.

  • Begin with introducing the terms "most likely", "least likely", and "equally likely".
  • Have students discuss in pairs or small groups what these terms mean, and then lead a class discussion to define these terms.
  • Ask what number is most likely and least likely on their spinners. What numbers are equally likely.
  • Using a class spinner, spin at least 10-15 times (or more, as time allows) and record the results on the board. Have students compare the actual results with their predictions.
  • End with a small discussion on why people want to know about probability, and how it applies to their everyday lives.

Halloween Math Activities: Probabilty Monsters

This probability lesson plan will make you very popular. While your students will undoubtedly have fun creating and testing their own spinners, the best part is yet to come. Using their newly-made math tools they will create their own spooky monsters.

Provide students a paper as follows:

1. Monster Heads ___ 5. Monster Tails ___

2. Monster Eyes ___ 6. Monster Antennae ___

3. Monster Arms ___ 7. Monster Noses ___

4. Monster Legs ___ 8. Monster Mouths ___

Tell them that they will be using their spinners to fill in the blanks. They need to go in order; in other words, the first number they spin will be entered in number one, the second number they spin goes in number two, and so on.

Once they have filled the entire page, they will draw their monsters! Body structure has been determined by the spinner, but the rest of the design of their monster is up to their artistic discretion. Let their creatity have full reign as they enjoy this craft time. At the end of the math activity, they will have a monster-ly example of how much fun probability can be.