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Activities to Get Gifted Kids Involved in Higher-Level Math

By Patricia Gable

Looking for math activities for gifted kids that are relevant and will keep students engaged? Ask them to go away! Well, not literally. Instruct students to plan a trip to a foreign country. Work with currency conversions, time zone differences, hotel and flight costs and other planning activities.

Students, Grab Your Passports...

If you are teaching a particular skill in math that some students have already mastered have this project ready for them. You may Globe choose to have them work in a small group or individually.

Prepare this letter for you students. Modify the letter to suit your needs and the abilities of your students. Put the letter in individual folders to give to each student who will be working on this project. Include a list of websites they are allowed to use and some paper to show their work.

Dear Student:

You will be traveling to a foreign country next month. You will stay for one week. Here are the tasks you need to accomplish to prepare for your trip. You need to keep a record of all information you have gathered. When math is involved, show your work on paper.

  • Check the price of a flight from the closest airport to your home that provides international flights. You may need to fly to a major U.S. city and take a flight from there to your destination. Choose dates one month from today. Get prices of flights if you travel on a Wednesday and if you travel on a Saturday. Is there a price difference? If so, how much? Remember that you want a round trip flight.
  • You will take $450.00 U.S. dollars for food and souvenirs. Exchange them for the currency of the country you are visiting. Please investigate and write down the currency exchange rate. Write down the name of the currency.
  • Calculate the round trip mileage from your home to the destination and back home again. Do not include any mileage used for sightseeing.
  • You will also need to take money to pay for six nights in a hotel. Find two hotels in your destination city and their rates. Calculate what the cost would be for six nights in each hotel. How much would each cost be in the currency of your destination country?
  • You will send 8 postcards. Each postcard costs $.50. How much is that in the currency of your destination country?
  • What is the time difference between the time at your home and the time in your destination country? How many hours difference? When you land in the destination country, what time will it be? What time will it be at home?

But Teacher, Where Are We Going?

These countries were chosen because they each have different currencies. You may want to change the choices. I like to write the choices on slips of paper and have students choose a slip from a basket. That way it is random.

thumbnail.aspx England






South Africa

Websites for Their Research

If you have a computer in your classroom and Internet access, and parental permission, your students can use sites like these to help with their research: (This author has no affiliation with these companies and you may choose to use other sites that you prefer.)

  • Expedia.comthumbnail-2.aspx 
  • AAA
  • (currency exchange rates)
  • (mileage)
  • (world time zones)

A Successful Trip!

Using math activities for gifted kids, your students will be engaged in an interesting project while you are working with other students on daily skills. You can adapt it to use countries that you may be studying. You can change it to do states in the United States. Keep things like this handy for times when you want to differentiate in your math lesson.