Education Technology

Spreadsheets, Functions, & 12 Days of Christmas

Published on 04/18/2009

Activity Overview

A comparison of the cost of the 2007 and 2006 gifts listed in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" allows students to explore the analysis of data through the Lists and Spreadsheets application of the TI-Nspire handheld, as well as discovering how a function can be used within the spreadsheet.

Before the Activity

Prior to presenting the lesson, verify student understanding of percent and percent of change. A basic understanding of the handheld is necessary, as well.

Provide students with a copy of the song from Fact Sheet 1: The Twelve Days of Christmas on page 5 at

An alternate method of determining the number of gifts presented by the 'true love' is to play the song and allow students to create a frequency table and tally the gifts as they are sung. Music without lyrics can be found at

During the Activity

The concept of "percent of change" is explored by analyzing price changes for the cost of gifts in the holiday song "The Twelve Days of Christmas".

Students will use Lists and Spreadsheets to enter gift costs from the previous year and compare to this year's prices. They will then determine the percent of change in cost for each item. Both current and historical data are available at Download the "Student 12 Days" document for instructions and for frequency tables. You may also wish to play the song for students to tally gifts.