These DIY ornaments turn out so pretty that children might like to do them at home for fun or as gifts. However, you could easily use them for subtraction practice. They even satisfy the algebraic component called for in Common Core. Who says you can't have Christmas fun and do math at the same time?

### Preparation:

I cut our shapes out of an old cereal box, which I recommend if you have time. If you need to save prep time, you may want to print the shapes on card stock, or better yet, use die cuts if you have access.

If you are working with a group, cut the ribbon into six inch lengths ahead of time.

You'll also need, glue, scissors and about four clothespins per ornament.

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Making your ribbon subtraction ornament

Chose a color to start with, and decide how many wraps you plan to decrease each time. Encourage your children to start with a larger number. Wrapping ten times like I did with the gold is good. My daughter tried to start with two and was quickly frustrated.

Spread glue on the shape, wrap it with ribbon, and fasten it with a clothespin.

Choose a new color and decrease the number of wraps by your chosen number. Each time you change colors, decrease the number of wraps by that set amount.

I chose to do a "minus two" pattern. Since 10-2 = 8, I needed to wrap the red ribbon eight times.

Algebraically this pattern would be written: y=x-2. y equals the number of wraps you are doing this time. x equals the number of wraps you did last time. You don't need to make the students write it out. Algebraic thinking is already part of the activity, so you are set.

The green was wrapped 6 or 8-2 times.

Once the glue has begun to dry, remove the clothespins. Don't leave them to dry completely. Attach a thread for hanging if you wish.

I didn't want to say anything too soon and scare you away, but if you wanted an excuse to do crafts in Calculus class, this is it. The ornament I made above represents the equation:

ʃ x-2,

The pattern of changing the x value each time is where the Calculus thinking appears. Integration is pretty isn't it?

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