Math IS Real Life: November 2015 edition – Friends(&Family)-Giving event prep!

It’s the first Wednesday of November which means it’s time for our monthly linky – Math IS Real Life!! If you want to see how the linky works, or just want other real world math ideas, check out our Pinterest Board of all the posts so that you can look back and find some great ideas and REAL pictures to use in your classroom!

If you are linking up, please include the below picture to link back to this blog post


 A monthly REAL WORLD math blog link-up hosted by MissMathDork,


disclosure: November snuck up on me!  Sadly, no pictures for this post (perhaps I’ll post some after the event happens!)

My husband and I have a Thanksgiving tradition that we started years ago when we were still dating (and he still worked crazy hours).  It often happened that he worked on Thanksgiving day, and if he didn’t, we were often traveling to various family events.  Because of both, we rarely ended up with leftovers!  And let’s face it, Thanksgiving leftovers are THE.BEST.  Sooooo… a tradition began – Saturday Thanksgiving.  It started out with just hubs and I, and has since turned into a super fun Friends(&Family)-Giving event!.  We extend the no-obligation invitation to tons of family and friend and we stress the NO OBLIGATION part! Everyone has so much going on throughout the holidays that no one wants to feel guilty if they can’t attend.

So what does Friends(&Family)-Giving have to do with math?  A TON!  (Especially if you add in the no-obligation piece!)

We’ve had as few as 2 extra attend (4 total) and as many as 8 extra attend (10 total).

8 people can comfortably fit at my dinner table – will we need more tables? if so, we’ll need more chairs!  (spatial reasoning)

 How much food needs to be prepped so that everyone has plenty AND we have leftovers (again, leftovers are KEY!)  (portion control and fractions)

How big does the turkey need to be? (serving size and weight)

How soon do I need to start thawing the turkey? (weight, measurement, elapsed time)

How many biscuits do I need to make? (measurement, prediction)

Will I run out of silverware (don’t laugh! That happened once!)? (set and groups)

What temperature will I need to set the thermostat at to keep the house at the right coolness?  (temperature)

How early in the morning do I need to start cooking the turkey so that I can still cook everything else in a timely manner? (elapsed time)

When is the optimal time to go shopping to get the best deals at the grocery store? (money, consumer math)

How much prep can happen the day before BUT not overload the refrigerator? (measurement, spatial reasoning, volume!)

How long will it take clean the kitchen afterwards? (elapsed time)

What is the budget for this shindig? (money, consumer math)

I’m sure I could come up with even more mathematical applications for this Friends(&Family)-Giving event if I sat here a little longer… however, I need to start answering some of those questions and get a menu made!  Other than the above, how do you use math over the holidays?


  Don’t forget to check out the other MIRL posts below!  Check back over the next few days – more will be added!!

Categories: #mirl, computation and estimation, geometry and measurement, math is real life, mathematical reasoning, mental math, and number and number sense.


  1. This is great! I think I’ll share this with my students before they leave for the break, so they appreciate what their parents go through, if they host a big Thanksgiving. It is my FAVORITE holiday and yes, leftovers are THE.BEST. Thank you for sharing!

  2. J.T.

    This has to be one of the most mathematically thought out Thanksgiving dinners I have ever seen. Making math relevant to students does not need to be as tricky as some people make it out to be (this post is proof of this theory)! The breakdown of the dinner reaches such a wide range of relevant mathematical concepts it’s practically a review waiting to happen. What I like most is the questions asked are things that actually need to be considered in the real world. None of that, “If my brother Frank eats 3 cups of pudding to every 4 slices of turkey, what ratio is he maintaining?”.

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