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Teacher Feature

Coin-a-copia: A Thanksgiving Glyph Activity

Background

Glyphs, like graphs, are pictorial representations of data.  Primarily, this mathematical tool will allow students to collect and display data about themselves and a variety of other topics.  However, this fun holiday activity will also let students practice using a legend to analyze and interpret data.

Activity

As an enjoyable and educational way to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, why not have your students each create a cornucopia glyph with coins?

Give each student the following handouts:

Go through the key with your students, and have them create their own glyphs.  For younger students, present the key one step at a time.  For older learners, all the steps can be presented in the form of a worksheet.

Try using this as your key:

  • If you've never been to Massachusetts, color and add the obverse of the Massachusetts State Quarter to your cornucopia.

    If you've been to Massachusetts, color and add the reverse of the Massachusetts State Quarter to your cornucopia.

  • If you're staying home to celebrate Thanksgiving, color and add the obverse of the 1920 Pilgrim Commemorative Half Dollar to your cornucopia.

    If you're going away to celebrate Thanksgiving, color and add the reverse of the 1920 Pilgrim Commemorative Half Dollar to your cornucopia.

  • If you're eating Thanksgiving dinner with relatives or friends, color and add the obverse of the 1915 Buffalo Nickel to your cornucopia.

    If you're not eating Thanksgiving dinner with friends or relatives, color and add the reverse of the 1915 Buffalo Nickel to your cornucopia.

  • If Fall is your favorite season, color and add the obverse of the 1667 Pine Tree Schilling to your cornucopia.

    If Fall is not your favorite season, color and add the reverse of the 1667 Pine Tree Schilling to your cornucopia.

  • If you are planning to watch a football game or a parade on Thanksgiving, color and add the obverse of the 1787 Massachusetts Half Cent to your cornucopia.

    If you are not planning on watching a football game or a parade on Thanksgiving, color and add the obverse of the 1787 Massachusetts Half Cent to your cornucopia.

  • On the first blank coin, draw a picture of your favorite Thanksgiving food, color the coin green, and add it to your cornucopia.
  • On the second blank coin, draw a picture of something you're thankful for, color the coin orange, and add it to your cornucopia.

Educational Connections

  • Have your students write a paragraph or two describing how they celebrate Thanksgiving, including all of the points covered by their glyphs.
  • Post everyone's glyph, and then have your students work in pairs to tally and create bar graphs comparing the responses for one or more of the key features (i.e. one pair will count how many people said that fall is their favorite season and how many people said it wasn't their favorite season.).

Standards

The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Language Arts Standards

Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process.:  The students will use written language to convey the meanings of their glyphs, and to describe their personal Thanksgiving celebrations.

Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the reading process.:  Demonstrate competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning.  Younger students will be required to listen to spoken instructions, while older students will need to read a list of directions in order to complete the project correctly.

Mathematics Standards

Communication:  Students will organize information and display it using methods of mathematical communication (glyphs and graphs) so that they can clearly express data to their peers and teachers.

Representation:  Students will create and use glyphs and bar graphs to organize, record, and communicate mathematical ideas



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