Education Technology

The First Twelve Days of School

Activity Overview

Students learn to organize data, look for patterns, and solve problems. They will count the number of "coins" in a variation of The Twelve Days of Christmas song. They will also generalize the patterns through symbolic expressions.

Before the Activity

  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print the transparency sheet and pages 4 - 5 from the attached Student PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the page to the class.

    Follow the activity procedures:

  • Act out the first three days of the poem
  • Count the coins received each day
  • Organize the data by listing in a table the day, number of coins received on the day, and the total number of coins
  • Predict the number of coins received on other days
  • Complete the table with data for 12 days
  • Use an algebraic expression to generalize the pattern
  • Extend the pattern and find the number of coins received after a set number of days
  • Observe that the sum of the first n whole numbers is n (n + 1)/2
  • After the Activity

    Students complete the activity sheet and answer questions.

  • Review student results
  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary