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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
It can be hard to keep your students motivated in that month block after Thanksgiving break as the excitement around Christmas and the holidays builds on a daily basis in your first grade classroom. Some teachers prefer to keep everyone calm by not focusing on the holidays, but this can make you feel like the Grinch as your students are just full of Christmas cheer. Instead, try leaning into the season by theming your academic centers with Christmas trees, presents and snow. These Christmas math task cards are a great tool for tying your students’ excitement for Christmas decorations with counting and comparing small numbers of objects.
Comparing groups of objects to 10 is the next logical step in your students’ math progression once they’ve mastered one to one correspondence (the skill of being able to accurately count a small group of objects). Counting and comparing physical groups of objects underpins all work based on number sentences and equations in future years as it teaches students about the magnitude of items and leads to discussions about how to make them equal. These Christmas math task cards can become a daily comparing numbers math center throughout December to reinforce these skills.
Preparing Crayon Fine Motor Number Mats
For this activity you will need:
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Extension Christmas Math Task Cards Activities
As with all the best comparing numbers math center, these Christmas math task cards are easy to use. Students match the number of the card to their worksheet and count the number of ornaments on each tree. They then write that number in each blank tree on their answer worksheet and color in the tree with the most ornaments in each pair. You can make it a self-checking activity by providing them with the answer key so that they can find and fix their own mistakes. To extend this counting and comparing center, try some of these tasks:
Ordering sets – comparing two trees full of ornaments is a great way of teaching math comparison, but you can increase the complexity by cutting the individual trees out and giving students sets of multiple trees. They then have to count and put the trees in order. A final activity is to organize all 32 trees by size which will involve grouping and some serious problem solving.
Write number sentences – for those students who are ready to talk about equations, you can introduce the symbols for greater than and less than and have them construct number sentences based on the Christmas math task cards. You can also use the individual trees from the first activity to change up the equations which allows you to introduce the concept of “is equal to” to complete the comparison set.
Create their own – finally, for those students who master comparing groups of objects to 10 quickly, you can print the blank trees answer worksheet and have them work on creating their own Christmas ornament number comparison puzzles for a partner. For an additional challenge, ask them to create trees that use between 11 and 20 ornaments for a partner to solve. Be sure they know the correct answer before asking them challenge a friend!
More Christmas Themed Centers
Like this? Then you’ll love my 10 Christmas Themed Literacy and Math Centers. These easy-prep games will get your students working on letters, phonics, numbers and more!
1) Elf-abet Handwriting Strips: learn letter formation then practice tracing and writing the capital letters and lowercase letters.
2) Beginning Sound Gifts: students will write in the first letter of the gift shown in each task card.
3) Christmas CVC Write the Room: includes 10 task cards to place around the room that students will hunt for plus a recording sheet for their answers.
4) Santa’s List of Letters: work on letter recognition of both uppercase and lowercase letters.
5) Read, Build and Write Word Mats: includes word cards for Dolch Pre-Primer, Dolch Primer and Fry First 100 words.
6) Christmas Lights Sorting Mat: sort the numbered Christmas lights into odd or even.
7) Build A Number Santa: students need to match the number on the hat with the dice representation, number word and tally mark to form a Santa Claus.
8) Santa Sleigh and Reindeer Number Cards: multiple ways to use for counting, matching, addition and more!
9) Christmas Ornament Counting: clip cards for counting up to 20.
10) Ginger-Bond Cookies: students will fill in the number bonds in each task card. Worksheet version also included.
Books About Christmas That We Love:
Other Free Christmas Printables You’ll Love:
1) Christmas Printable Worksheet Pack – 50 pages of worksheets for mastering the alphabet, early math skills and more!
2) Christmas I Spy – This Christmas-themed I Spy is perfect for keeping little ones busy during the holidays.
3) Santa Land Spot the Difference – This game of visual discrimination will keep your kids busy for a while! Find the 10 differences between these 2 pictures of Santa Land.
4) Build A Number Santa – Preschool and kindergarten kids will match the number to the correct number word, tally mark and domino to form a Santa Claus in this fun printable Christmas activity.
5) Gingerbread Number Puzzle Strips – Set of 3 differentiated gingerbread-themed number puzzles including one with dice representation.
Fun Math Tools for Your Classroom:
Browse My Most Popular Math Printables:
1) Parking Cars Tracing Lines – More than 10 different tracing line patterns to choose from, all of which help with pencil control.
2) Scarecrow Arrange By Size – 3 different scarecrow-themed image sets that they will arrange from smallest to biggest.
3) Bumblebee Addition Game – Solve the sum and help the bee land on the correct flower!
4) Farm Shapes Mats – Use playdough, pompoms, stickers etc to learn 2D shapes.
5) Popsicle Stick Number Formation – Kids will love forming the numbers 1 to 10 when ice cream and popsicles are involved!
8) Counting Colorful Bugs – This printable book will help kids count to 10 while also learning about color words.
9) Humpty Dumpty Numbers – In this printable game, your students will practice number recognition using 1 dice or simple addition when using 2 dice.
10) Build A Number Santa – Match the number to the correct number word, tally mark and domino to form a Santa Claus
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