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# readilearn: Engaging mathematics learning with Halloween themed resources

• Published on October 19, 2018

In just a couple of weeks, people in many parts of the world will be celebrating Halloween. Even in Australia, where the festival has only recently begun to take hold, merchandise now fills our (mainly discount) stores, and children look forward to a night of fun, knocking on doors and collecting treats from family and friends.

The festival dates back two thousand years to its origins in what is now Ireland, England and France. Irish immigrants took the festival to America in the 1800s. Halloween arrived in Australia with immigrants and through its portrayal in movies and on television. Always looking for an excuse to party, Australians are ready to join in.

Originally, the festival celebrated the end of summer harvests and marked the beginning of the long dark northern winters. The festivities have evolved over the centuries with changes to focus and traditions.

I have always thought that adding a bit of fun to the school day helps the learning go down. If the children are going to be distracted by thoughts of their Halloween costumes and what booty they might score in an evening of trick or treating, why not harness those distractions and channel them into learning?

To combine fun with learning, this week I have uploaded three new interactive Halloween themed maths resources for use on the interactive whiteboard. The resources help to develop number concepts up to ten and are available to subscribers. As do other readilearn resources, they acknowledge that it is the richness of discussion occurring between teacher and children that helps to consolidate children’s learning.

Share the Treats  provides children with practice in:

• counting
• one-by-one sharing
• making equal shares
• identifying remainders.

It presents a series of twelve slides for discussion. A follow-up worksheet for independent practice can be accessed from within the resource.

Who Has More? engages children in comparing numbers to ten and provides practice with:

• estimation
• subitisation
• counting
• comparison
• using the terms ‘more’ and ‘less’
• addition
• subtraction.

The resource presents a series of twelve slides for discussion. A follow-up worksheet for independent practice can be accessed from within the resource.

How Many Treats? provides practice in addition with numbers up to ten. As with the other two resources, a follow-up worksheet for independent practice can be accessed from within the resource.

These three new resources extend the Halloween collection which includes the popular board game Trick or Treat.

Everything you need for the game is available in this one downloadable resource. Items can also be accessed individually for use in other activities.

As explained in this previous blog post in which I introduced the Trick or Treat game for Halloween, playing games strengthens the classroom community by providing children with opportunities to:

• participate in social situations
• get along and take turns
• understand and follow game rules
• accept game decisions
• respond in positive ways to their own participation and the participation of others
• have fun.

As well as being fun to play, the Trick or Treat board game provides opportunities for children to practise maths and literacy skills and so is great for use in maths and literacy groups, or to play with buddies or in family groups. In addition, it has characteristics which set it apart from other board games and provide additional opportunities for learning social skills; for example:

• Players collect treats as they move along the board. Players will collect different numbers of treats. Some may collect a lot, some may collect none, and some may collect any number in between. Sometimes players are required to return treats to the pot, or to give some of their treats to others players.
• In most games, the first to the finish is the winner. This may not be so in the Trick or Treat board game. In fact, a discussion about the winner, if there is a winner, could raise some interesting points; for example: is the winner the first to finish, the one who collects most treats, or everyone who enjoys the game?
• In this game, it may be an advantage to go back spaces, or even back to the start. It would give players more opportunities to collect more treats!

More information about the game can be found in the introductory blog post or game instructions.

More information about Halloween can be accessed from this History page.

A brief overview is provided in this video.

I wish you all fun on Halloween; if you choose to celebrate it.

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#### Comments

Halloween Down Under! Do you have pumpkins, too? I always thought of Halloween as an American event, and loved to dress up as a kid. Trick o’ treating continues to be fun. I’m going to dress up and pass out rocks with candy. Your game and lesson look fun!

Norah Colvin says:

The last few years there have been big pumpkins just for carving in the shops. I’ve never bought one. They look very light and must be a different variety from the pumpkins I cook – bigger, lighter and softer or thinner skinned. I often wondered how people carved pumpkins. They are very hard to cut. Perhaps I should buy one and check it out. 🙂
I hope you do enjoy trick or treating. It’s something I’ve never done. Bec would have gone trick or treating a few times, and my grandchildren are preparing to go next week with their family and friends around the neighbourhood. They are looking forward to it.
Handing out rocks with candy sounds a little like a trick and a treat at the same time. As long as it’s not rocks wrapped in candy wrappers, it’ll be okay. 🙂 I’m sure, though, that the rocks you will hand out will be very special rocks. Have fun!

You have such lovely ideas, Norah. A great way of incorporating maths learning into Halloween.

Norah Colvin says:

Thank you, Robbie. I’m pleased you like them.

This is just bonus fun for the kiddies Norah. Clever idea to add Halloween to the learning fun. 🙂 x

Norah Colvin says:

Thank you, Debby. <3

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