What do you get if you start with some holiday cheer, add some graham crackers, icing, an ice cream cone, a Munchkin box base and $4.75? You get a terrific math lesson and the makings for a gingerbread house. The goal of gingerbread math day – which took place on Friday – is to help students to master their math and teamwork skills while creating a gingerbread house together.
Make no mistake about it–this is a high stake’s game. The three groups voted to have the winning houses – based on creativity – will receive a pizza party lunch served to them on December 22. The groups had to decide how to make and decorate their houses with the money and material provided in the time allotted. Working together was key.
According to high school math teacher Dawn Whynot, the decorations could be purchased for as little as a dime or as much as a dollar. “All of the candy was donated this year,” Dawn said. “We have mints, nonpareils, Dots, marshmallows, and extra icing available for sale.” She went on to explain that the icing was the big ticket item priced at one dollar, and many of the candies – including the Dots – could be purchased for ten to fifty cents. It was entirely up to each group how or if they spent their money in the creation of their house.
“This line of gum drops leads to my mom’s house,” Joseph explained as he added another layer to what the teachers were calling the yellow brick road. “This is one of the most anticipated math lessons of the year,” Dawn said. “The kids love this, and they are learning a lot in the process. The real goal is for the kids to work cooperatively and learn something along the way. Some of what we hope they will apply is budgeting, teamwork, and time management. There is also a mentoring piece as the groups are of mixed age with at least one older student in each group.”
This is the fifth year that gingerbread math has been part of the curriculum here at the Doctor Franklin Perkins School and, according to Dawn, the kids look forward to it and start asking as early as September. Time management is clearly a huge factor in the process. When one of the teachers yelled the 15 minute warning the groans from around the room were audible. Yet, in the end, each group had a completed home, and was still smiling.
Judging will take place over the next few days, and the gingerbread houses will be on display until Christmas break which begins on the 23rd of December. Come to the Janeway hallway to view the displayed homes and offer congratulations to the top three teams!