In this unit students help plan a party for Q-Bear and think about some of the different ways people celebrate their birthdays.
- state when their birthday is and mark this on a calendar
- make a set of ten linking paper rings
- make groups of five using different combinations
- identify common ways people celebrate birthdays in New Zealand
Reading a calendar and identifying specific dates
Number operations – counting from one, counting on, imaging etc. – practice in a variety of meaningful contexts
A description of the social studies explored in this unit
This maths unit is written to work alongside the social studies unit Celebrating Birthdays that can be found on the Social Studies Online site. For a full description of the social studies concepts and associated activities please see:
In general, students explore the importance of birthdays and find out some different ways birthdays are celebrated in different countries.
Associated Achievement Objectives
Social Studies AO5: understand how the cultures of people in New Zealand are expressed in their daily lives.
calendar, birthday, birth date, date, day, week, month, year, first, last
Introduction, Session 1
Introduce Q-Bear (or something similar) to the students and explain that he is going to be having a birthday soon. Show his birthday on the calendar, making it near the end of the unit to allow time for planning the party.
Have students locate their birthdays on a calendar and record the date.
Lead a discussion to encourage students to read the calendar and compare birth dates. For example
Who has a birthday close to Q-Bears?
How many days / weeks between the two birthdays?
Who is older, Jonah or Sally? By how many days?
Who has the first / last birthday of the year?
Explain that people all over the world have birthdays and celebrate them in their own special way. What could we do to celebrate Q-Bear’s birthday? Brainstorm and list these features, for example cake, candles, gifts, decorations, a feast, umu, hangi
Exploring, Sessions 2-4
Explain that Q-Bear is very excited about his birthday so as a class they are going to plan and hold a party for him. Carry out the following activities as preparation over the next few days.
Q-Bear is going to be 5 years old and there are red and blue candles for his cake. Draw the different colours his candles could be. For example, 5 red, 4 red and 1 blue or 3 red and 2 blue etc.
Record this information as pictures, written sentences or number sentences.
Q-Bear is going to invite 5 friends to the party. They will get 3 lollies and 2 balloons each to take home. How many lollies and balloons will you need to buy? Use counters or draw diagrams to help figure this out, adapting the numbers to make this problem harder as required.
Q-Bear is very excited as he is going to have special cupcakes at his party. These cakes have 2 lollies on each one to look like eyes. If he ate one cupcake how many lollies would he eat? What if he ate 2 cakes? Or 3 cakes?
Record the pattern and practise skip counting.
Make a special crown to wear at the party. Provide students with 3 different shapes to decorate their crowns with, for example, squares, triangles and stars. Once the hats are finished count the numbers of shapes used on some of the crowns and record this. For example, Elisa
Make some paper streamers by joining lengths of paper together as interlocking circles; like a chain. If everybody makes 10 links how many will there be altogether? Have students carefully count 10 links as they make them, then count them all together at the end.
Reflecting, Session 5
Hold a party for Q-Bear with some special party food. Students could bring a plate, or the teacher could provide some items as required. Have students wear their hats and bring simple presents they have made.
Sing happy birthday or Ra whanau ki a koe to Q-Bear and play some party games.
After the party reflect and record some information about the party. For example
What date was Q-Bears birthday?
How many whanau and friends were at his party?
How many gifts did he get?