3 1/2 Ways to Do Math with Jesus

I’ve been stumbling over baby Jesuses for a few weeks now. I realized that with three working nativity sets in the house it was time to do a little math with Jesus.

All of them.

You can count the bits and pieces.

Animals, people, buildings – count them for each nativity set and count them up total.

  • How many total Jesuses do you have?
  • How many angels?
  • How many “visitors” does Jesus have?
  • How many sheep? Cows? Donkeys? Camels?
  • How many total animals?

You can compare the numbers.

My three nativity sets have varying numbers of characters and structures. It’s curious how some sets include more animals that visitors – and some sets don’t have any animals.

  • Which of your nativity sets have more animals? Which has more people?
  • Which has more buildings (or non-people/non-animal things)?
  • Are there more visitors than animals or more animals than visitors?
  • Arrange the sets in order of least to greatest – people, animals, etc. Are they always in the same order?
  • Is one set bigger or heavier than the others?

Do some arithmetic.

Take the opportunity to show how counting and arithmetic are kinda the same thing.

  • If you add up the number of sheep you have with the number of donkeys, how many is that? Is it the same if you group them together and just count them?
  • What if all the shepherds left? Talk about how you can count them, or you subtract the number of shepherds from the total number of visitors.
  • How many nativity sets do you have? Talk about how 3 times that number is the number of wise men you have.

Do fractions – but only if you must.

I know many people avoid fractions. I wish I could have avoided it with Math with Jesus. Daughter gave us the opportunity to talk about fractions by breaking the angel (or the “butterfly” as she calls it). Good thing we have Gorilla Tape.

Where can you find math in your Christmas things?

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