Reminder: Thanksgiving Math

Hey everyone!! This is a really fun Thanksgiving Math activity for the upper grades. I just wanted to re-post it in case you haven't seen it before. Also, this is a reminder that if you want to do this with your students next week, you will need to remember to grab your grocery store ads this weekend!!

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This is a super fun activity for upper grades, but could easily be adapted for younger grades as well. Click here for a download.


  • You will need to gather some grocery ads from a couple different stores beforehand. (You'll need one per group from each different store.)
  • Divide your students in groups and make sure they have a poster board, scissors, markers, and glue.
  • You'll also want to have blank copies of the budget form.


  • Groups will work together to create a menu for a Thanksgiving dinner on a $40 budget.
  • They will need to go through the ads, compare prices of different food items to make sure they get the best deal.
  • They will need to calculate the total cost of the meal using the budget form, making sure to add, subtract, multiply and divide as needed. They cannot spend more than $40.
  • They will make a poster showing the final menu (using the pictures from the ads) with prices of each food item clearly marked. Make sure they write which store they purchase each item from.
Important Information:
  • Tell students they need to be able to feed a family of 6 people.
  • They can choose whatever they want to eat; but should include a meat, a vegetable, some side dishes, a dessert, and a beverage.
  • Students do not need to buy condiments, dishes, silverware, etc.
Teacher's Notes:
  • My team has been doing this activity for the past 4 years. Each year my students walk away with a whole new appreciation for what their families go through when planning a big meal such as Thanksgiving. They see how expensive food is and how hard it is to budget. A lot of times they even go home and tell their parents which store has the best deals on different food items. It is overall a wonderful learning experience!!
  • Groups will most likely argue about what food items to choose. I tell them beforehand that part of their grade on this project is teamwork and they have to work together to make everyone happy. That way, when they start arguing over which dessert to choose and complain to me, I just tell them they need to work it out together as part of their grade.
  • HAVE FUN! If you try this activity, make sure to leave a comment to tell us how it goes!


spotsanddots said...

I would love a copy of your Thanksgiving budget form. When I clicked to download there was only an error. Is this document available? If so, could you email it to me? I would love to do this activity next week with my 4th graders! Thanks!

Natalie Kay said...

Link is working now! So sorry!

Unknown said...

omg! I LOVE this!!!! A great activity for my middle schoolers! I always struggle this time of the year to find an appropriate holiday activity for them. I wish I could incorporate a reading component into this. Any suggestions?

❤ Mor Zrihen ❤
A Teacher's Treasure

Rachelle said...

@ A Teacher's Treasure:

Maybe you can have them write about the one most important item to eat at Thanksgiving {argument piece} and have them debate which one is best....based on price, availability, how difficult it is to make...etc.

Ms. Chrissy B said...

Maybe they can read a recipe and use it to make sure they get all the ingredients necessary. They could even write a procedural piece about making part of the meal or using the recipe.

Buzzing with Ms. B

teaching fashionista said...

Such a great idea!

Ginger Snaps said...

I love this idea! =) Thanks for sharing!

Robin said...

I am doing something similar tomorrow, but my kids get $100 and they have to round the cost of each item first and then later add up the actual cost. We are teaching decimals right now, and are in the middle of rounding decimals. They need to list the item they are buying, the quantity, the rounded cost per item, and they have to buy at least ten items. Good idea to tell them about feeding 6 people, and which food groups they need to account for!

Anonymous said...

I decided to use this activity yesterday with my fifth grade class. I can tell you it was so so successful that the kids skipped recess to stay in and work on it! My kids worked in teams and had to present their poster and show their work on it as well. Thank you so much for this real-life math at work activity.
PS. I just went to our local grocery stores and snatched up their weekly ads, instead of having kids bring them from home : )

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your hard work!

Unknown said...

I also do this with my high school students except they recreate their own thanksgiving dinner, then I also require them to use coupons. They get bonus points if they end up with an extra stock pile. They need to do comparison shopping between two stores.

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wow very informative thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for the information! It is important to understand that students also need a break. Because of their hometasks and work, they can't live a real life. Also, it is good that nowadays we have sources with, that can help to do their life's easier.

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