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12 Days of Christmas Math

12 Days

Have you ever wondered HOW many gifts your true love would give you if they followed the directions in the song “Twelve Days of Christmas”?  This is a problem that I have all of my students solve the class before Winter Break each year.  The only direction I give is to ask the students HOW many presents would you really receive.  While they figure it out, I play many versions of Twelve Days of Christmas on my SMART board.  If you do not have a way to show a video of the song, they can listen to a recording from a CD.

Here are some of my favorite versions on YouTube:

The classic version!

Another version with the classic lyrics is John Denver and the Muppets. The quality of the video isn’t the best, but HD was not invented in 1979.  The humor of Miss Piggy and Kermit never gets old!

If you are not interested in all of the birds the lyrics of the classic song suggest, Shrek has a cute version! 

Phineas and Ferb are not only having fun during the 104 days of summer vacation, they have their own version of song! The song is cute and will be fun for your students to watch, but it does not “count” like the original song, so it does not follow the same pattern.  You might want to save this one for last and watch it just for fun.

Let the class go a while.  Some use equations, some draw it out, some add it up.  It is fun seeing how they get their solutions.  I walk around and look at answers.  When a student gets it right I give them a Christmas sticker.  In the end as the song is playing I start writing on the board one of the ways to solve it.  Then by the end, everyone has the answer and everyone has a Christmas sticker!

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About the author


Lori L does many things here at Simple Solutions, including writing blogs and math problems. She has an Elementary Education degree from Cleveland State University and taught many grades during her 15 years at St. Paschal Baylon School in Ohio, the first school that ever used Simple Solutions. She and her husband have recently become empty nesters when their two amazing children went off to college. She loves all things Cleveland including the Cleveland Ballet, Cavs, Indians, and even the Browns.

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