Thanksgiving Math Activity

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!
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