Raymond Park Middle School
Attn: Tonya Martin
8575 E Raymond Street
Indianapolis, IN 46239
Christmas Tree Decorating…Math Style!
Usually there are lights, angels, stars, and ornaments that
decorate Christmas trees – but how about putting a twist on it and
use construction paper, felt, and sequins to decorate mathematical
Christmas trees? Students in grades 6-8 did just that in Dr. Patricia
Gainey’s computer-and-math applications class at Raymond Park
Middle School as they decorated trees – math style!
First, students made a graphic organizer of polygons where they organized
by color and shapes so that triangles were on one tier of the tree;
trapezoids and parallelograms were on the second tier; trapezoids,
parallelograms, and additional quadrilaterals on the third; and various
regular and irregular polygons (like hexagons) were on the bottom rung.
Add a few sequins and glitter-yarn garland, and you’ve got a polygon-
tree graphic organizer!
Don’t let your tree-decorating
end there, though, because there are
other ways to address the geometry standards with trees!
Students made 3-D shapes using math materials like plastic
Polydrons ® to form the five Platonic solids. They then
designed, cut, decorated, and glued together nets to form 3-D
shapes to put on a class-size tree.
Last but not least, to address the math measurement
standard, students sewed fractional measurement trees. With green
felt cut into isosceles triangles, they positioned buttons and sewed them
in a triangular formation so that the top button was 1 7/8” from the top,
another row of two buttons were 1 ¾” below that and so on. Around the
edges, they sewed stitches that were ¼” apart. The sewed a jingle bell
at the top of the tree, added ribbon and/or fabric glue and celebrated the
joyous “forest of trees” when they were all finished!
So December may be the time to “deck the halls with boughs of
holly,” but at RPMS, it’s also a time to “deck the math