(T^3) – Thanksgiving, Turkey & TinkerPlots

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! My folks are with me for Thanksgiving this year (I will actually get to use the dining room I have not stepped in for 3 years). I am faced with having to actually cook a turkey tomorrow the traditional way (i.e. NOT deep-fried) since my sister did the deep-fried last Saturday when she made an early Thanksgiving dinner for my folks when they were visiting at her house. I am sure those of you who have had to prepare the Thanksgiving meals realize how much math goes into the preparation – from how many pounds of potatoes to buy for the mashed potatoes to what size turkey to get to feed the family (don’t forget Aunt Martha usually has two helpings) and how long to cook that 25 pounder.  There are calculations and estimations galore surrounding this meal.

On a related note – I saw President Obama pardon some turkeys this morning…kind of silly really, but it leads to another math question…how many turkeys are raised to help us ‘celebrate’ this day of thanks?  Just one of many interesting questions and problems arising from this holiday feast. This sentence from the Common Core standards comes to mind:  “mathematically proficient students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace.” Those of you teachers out there looking for ‘real-world’ math that is relevant to kids, look no further than Thanksgiving day statistics!

On Twitter the other day ( @vpigreenie ) someone posted this link to Thanksgiving Day statistics from the US Census Bureau. So, in looking at some of the statistics, I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate Thanksgiving and to do a demo of how easy it is to use our TinkerPlots software for working with data.  Those of you working with students, particularly in elementary and middle school, if you have never seen or used TinkerPlots, this is a very quick demo of how easy it is for students to take data, whether it be data from other resources or data they have collected themselves, enter it quickly into TinkerPlots, and start making plots and asking questions and discovering the joys of statistical analysis.

Enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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