Hanukkah makes math fun

Since Hanukkah takes place for eight days, counting is a natural part of this holiday.  Children can practice counting by counting aloud as they place the candles in the Menorah.  They can determine how many days are left by naming the numerical day of Hanukkah and counting up to eight.  For instance, on the fifth day, children can continue counting to eight to determine that there are 3 more days left to celebrate.  Or, they can count the empty candle holders to find that number as well.  Counting practice can continue with a lively game of “Spin the Dreidel” as children are called on to spin the dreidel and count out pieces of gelt (chocolate coins), pennies or nuts as the spin dictates.  Of course, counting the total amount in each person’s pot to determine the winner provides even more counting fun!

Hanukkah worksheets

Besides the counting activities mentioned above, additional practice can be had with these Hanukkah math worksheets.  These sheets add fun Hanukkah pictures to familiar math pages.  Three sheets provide counting practice.  Before the counting starts, ask your child to name each numeral as you point to it.  Then, as your child counts each picture in a box, suggest that she put a pencil line through the picture to avoid counting it twice. 

The pictograph worksheet asks children to cut out the pictures at the bottom of the page and paste them in the correct column.  Remind your child to add the pictures starting at the bottom of each column, building the column as she would a stack of blocks.  Now ask your child to identify how many pictures are in each row.  Then ask your child to compare amounts in rows by reading the sentences aloud and asking your child to fill in the blanks using the words “more” and “less.”  One reminder for parents:  This sheet is designed to provide practice creating and reading graphs and comparing amounts indicated on the graphs.  Precise cutting of the small pictures on the bottom of the page is necessary for your child to create a readable and accurate pictograph.  So if your child’s cutting skills are still developing, I suggest you cut the pictures apart before presenting this worksheet to your child.  The bar graph page asks children to record the amount of each picture using a crayon to color the graph squares.  To increase your child’s accuracy, it is often helpful to direct her to mark each picture with a / or X and color one box in the correct column before marking the next picture.  The blank bar graph allows your child to create her own graph by asking a multiple choice question about Hanukkah and marking the responses on the graph.  For example, your child may ask about people’s favorite part of Hanukkah and give optional answers as 1. eating latkes 2. playing dreidel 3. lighting the menorah 4. opening presents 5. decorating the house or 6. eating the chocolate gelt.  Your child can paste a picture from another worksheet or draw a picture to indicate each answer.  For example, your child could draw a latke under column 1, etc.  If needed, you may draw the picture clues under each column to indicate your child’s options for answers to her question.  Also, younger children will have a greater chance of feeling successful if they limit the choices to 2 or 3, rather than 5 or 6.  In other words, although 6 columns are provided, it is not necessary to provide 6 multiple choice answers to the Hanukkah question.  For young children with limited experience with graphs, the question may have a simple “yes” or “no” answer, such as “Is Hanukkah your favorite Jewish holiday?”

The patterning page asks your child to complete each line of patterns.  Direct your child to point to the pictures and say the names aloud as she moves her finger from left to right across the row. This will help her recognize the pattern.  Remind her that a pattern is a sequence that repeats at least one time.  Again, cut the picture squares out for your child if you feel it is necessary.  Also, let your child know that there will be 3 pictures left over after the page is completed.

Finally, the sorting and classifying worksheet asks children to identify the characteristic of each box and paste additional pictures in the box that meet the stated characteristic.  I suggest copying or printing this page 2 or 3 times to allow your child to identify the groups in different ways.  For example, the gelt can indicate things you eat, Hanukkah symbols, or shiny things, while the mitten can indicate winter items or turquoise-colored pictures.  As long as your child can explain the characteristic of each box and why the pictures she chooses belong in that box, any labels are fine. 

I wish everyone celebrating Hanukkah a wonderful week of learning and sharing fun times with your family, extended family, and friends.  Happy Hanukkah!


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