Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Poetic Math Greeting Cards

Sharla Shults
Bay District Schools


Poetic Math Challenge-Lesson 3 What is the most often purchased greeting card? Discover this, and then have students produce their own greeting cards. Students surprise family and friends while analyzing data at the same time. Creativity soars!


The student writes fluently for a variety of occasions, audiences, and purposes, making appropriate choices regarding style, tone, level of detail, and organization.

Analyzes real-world data and makes predictions of larger populations by applying formulas to calculate measures of central tendencies and dispersion using the sample population data, using appropriate technology, including calculators and computers.


-Duplicating paper in assorted colors or patterns
-Pen or pencil
-Extra paper for rough draft
-Basic Computer Skills diagnostic – one per student (See Associated File)
-Poetic Greeting Cards Project Survey (100 or more copies) (See Associated File)
-Data Collection & Analysis Work Sheet – One per group (See Associated File)
-Conclusion & Evaluation sheet – one per student (See Associated File)
-Poetic Greeting Cards: Process & Product Rubric – One per student (See Associated File)
-Poetic Greeting Cards: Technical Rubric – One per student (See Associated File)
-Poetic Greeting Cards: Team Work Rubric – One per student (See Associated File)
-Computer lab with Microsoft Word and Internet access
-Table set up in front of classroom.


1. Duplicate the diagnostic of basic computer skills. (See Associated File.) This may determine how you group or partner students.
2. Contact several teachers in advance to survey their classes and determine number of surveys to be distributed for sample population.
3. Duplicate surveys according to age group categories.
Green: Teen – Always on the GO (14 – 17)
Yellow: Young Adult – Full of Bright Ideas (18-21)
Blue: Adult – Calming/Assuming Responsibility (over 21)
Golden Rod: Senior – In the Golden Years (over 60)
4. Survey faculty and staff.
5. Schedule computer lab if necessary in your school.
6. Check out calculators, if necessary, to have enough for each student or group.
7. Prepare a transparency for individual groups to record data for the whole class on the overhead projector. (See Associated File)
8. Duplicate Data Collection and Analysis Work Sheet – One per group. Two pages need to be copied one-sided to two-sided. (See Associated File)
9. Duplicate Group Data Collection sheet - One per group. Four pages need to be copied one-sided to two-sided. (See Associated File)
10. Duplicate Poetic Greeting Cards Process and Product rubric, Poetic Greeting Cards Technical rubric, and Poetic Greeting Cards Team Work rubric – One each per student (See Associated file)
11. Duplicate the Conclusion and Evaluation sheet – one per student.


(NOTE: Students need prior knowledge of graphs, central tendency, ratio, and proportion before beginning this activity.)

1. Ask students what is the most often greeting card they send to family or friends. Make a list of all the different types of greeting cards with which students are familiar. Have a few samples of greeting cards available for students to view. Engage students in discussion of greeting card inscriptions and different types of writing.

2. Students work in groups; collect data in a survey; depict in tables, charts, or graphs the results of the survey; and make predictions. (See Associated File) Students use creative writing skills and computer skills to generate a greeting card of their own. Present students with Poetic Greeting Cards Process and Product rubric, Poetic Greeting Cards Technical rubric, and Poetic Greeting Cards Team Work rubric. (See Associated File) Discuss criteria established. This lays the foundation for the expectations of the project.

3. There is hardly an occasion that does not warrant the sending or receiving of a greeting card. Have an open discussion of recent occasions students have experienced that resulted in their sending or receiving a greeting card. Also include in the discussion why it is important to respond with a greeting card. This incorporates learning respect, which is one of the common traits of character education.

4. Follow the instructions for parts I-IV below.

1) Distribute survey to faculty and staff. This could be accomplished in a faculty meeting, on a School Improvement Day or by placement in individual teacher mailboxes. (Note: If you complete this project prior to a major holiday, expect your results to be somewhat skewed.)
2) Allow 30 minutes at the end of the class on the day before starting the activity to accomplish the following:
a) Make a list of different types of greeting cards sent to family and friends and reproduce on a transparency. Use this time for introduction. (See Number 1 at the beginning of Procedures.)
b) Administer survey to students in the entire class and collect.
c) Distribute surveys to go home. Distribute according to age groups to fit each individual group member’s family situation. Each student is responsible for at least 2 additional surveys. You may wish to give each student one additional survey per age group.

II. DAY 1 & 2:
(Be sure to see note under #8f. Depending on students’ prior knowledge, this may need to be incorporated at an earlier time conducive to individual teacher’s class.)

1) Collect surveys from home. Place on the table in front of the classroom along with the class surveys that were taken the day before and the completed surveys of the faculty and staff.

2) Divide students into groups or partners. If using groups of 3, designate the following roles: Team Manager/Organizer, Runner, and Recorder. If using groups of 4, you might assign the Calculator as the additional role.

3) Designate the Team Manager from each group to come to the table set up in front of the classroom. Assign these students the job of separating the surveys by color code. Team Manager/Organizer must inspect all surveys to be sure they have been filled out properly. It is their duty to invalidate any surveys that are incorrect, i.e. no gender marked or number of cards purchased left blank. Team Managers must then organize completed surveys into individual stacks according to color. Next they should evenly divide these into the same number of stacks as number of groups. It is best to mix the colors at this time so each group receives a sampling of each category. These will remain on front table until the Runners return.

4) While Team Managers are working at the front table, send the Runners to nearby classrooms to survey additional students in order to have a good sample population. It is best to contact teachers in advance to set this up and get a count of students in their class. This will be a good time to also survey the teacher if that person did not complete one the day before.

5) The Recorder distributes one copy of the Data Collection & Analysis Work Sheet to each group while the Team Managers and Runners are busy. It is the responsibility of the Recorder to record the names of all members of the group on the work sheet.

6) When the Team Managers complete the organization of the class surveys and the home surveys at the front table, they return to their seats until the Runners return with the additional surveys. They provide copies of the three rubrics (See Associated File) to each member of their group. It is the responsibility of Team Managers, when all Runners return, to review each rubric with the members of their group and make sure all understand the project expectations.

7) When Runners return to the classroom, the Team Managers collect their surveys. The Team Managers then return to the front table and evenly distribute the completed surveys among the organized stacks.

8) Once all surveys have been collected and organized, the Team Managers give each group a stack of surveys. Now the data collection begins.
a) Tell students: Count the total number of responses from your group and record on the data sheet for Question Number 1. The Recorder of each group then records this count on the board or overhead for the rest of the class. You may wish to assign one Recorder from the class this duty.
b) Total all of the group counts and record this figure on the board. The Recorder then records the total number of responses on the data sheet for Question Number 2.
c) Separate surveys according to gender and age group. Complete table for Group Data.
d) The Runner for each group goes from group to group collecting each group’s data, recording it on the Group Data Collection sheet. (See Associated File) The Runner returns this information to the group Recorder.
e) The group now works together completing the Total Data on cards purchased within the last 6 months. The Recorder will record this on the Total Data Sheet. It is best for the teacher to rotate among the groups and validate totals as they work. All groups should ultimately result in exactly the same data on their Total Data Sheet if their calculations are correct.
f) All members work collaboratively on the conclusion and evaluation.*
*NOTE: Prior to completing this portion of the activity, it would be beneficial to review the terms of central tendency. Even though students work with mean, median, and mode quite frequently, they may not be familiar with the term central tendency. In this section it is imperative for students to realize they can derive their formula by using ratio and proportion! Excellent place for review and reinforcement of both!

III. DAY 3 & 4:

1) Review Poetic Greeting Cards Technical rubric with all students.

2) Allow students time to investigate different types of cards, pictures, and writing used in their inscriptions by using search engines to visit websites and view cards on line. (See Web Links)

3) Students need to now choose the type of greeting cards they would like to reproduce. Have a sign up sheet ready for students to list the category.

4) Once the decision of category has been made, students need to visit graphics’ sites or clipart to decide on the cover for their card. Instruct students to be very careful in making their selections compatible and appropriate for the occasion they have chosen.

5) The next step would be for students to rough draft the inscription they would like to include inside their cards. The composition needs to be rhythmic or poetic in nature. Students may incorporate numbers within the context of their writing but it is not a requirement. Students must demonstrate the ability to write logically in the development of their inscriptions. They also need to decide on the recipient of the card.

6) When the rough draft is ready, students work on the computers in Microsoft Word creating their greeting cards. Instruct students to make their templates for publishing the greeting card. Save as Blank Template. When they save the second time, instruct students to save as Poetic Greeting Card.

7) Using a Microsoft Word document, the page should be divided into four equal quadrants. Tell students to use the drawing toolbar and insert four text boxes into their blank document maximizing space and minimizing waste. When the cards are completed and folded, there must be a minimum amount of trimming to be done. This greatly enhances students’ estimation skills and ability to use the ruler toolbar.

8) Students may use a variety of fonts and graphics when designing their card. Again, instruct students to be very consistent and make their selections compatible and appropriate for the occasion they have chosen. The following sequence is used in developing the card:
a) The lower right quadrant is the cover.
b) The lower left quadrant is for the student’s name and class. This gives credit to the person who designed the card.
c) The upper right quadrant is the inside left of the card. This section is optional for inscriptions or graphics.
d) The upper left quadrant is the inside right of the card. This is the location for the inscription and must be typed using WordArt so it can be flipped upside down.

9) In the associated file is a sample card for the teacher to use as a guide when teaching the students how to work in Microsoft Word. (See Associated File)

10) The next step is to print the greeting card. Instruct students to SAVE AS Poetic Greeting Card before printing! Tell students to print 2 copies. One copy goes to the teacher for assessment purposes and one copy is for the student to give to the designee. See associated file for rubrics.

IV. Day 5: (Feedback)

1) Complete Conclusion and Evaluation sheet. (See Associated File.) Turn in to the teacher. Teacher’s discretion can be utilized here for grading purposes.

2) At the conclusion of the activity, discuss with students how to use the data they collected to review and practice ratios and percentages. It would be good at this point to let students recognize and write their own questions relating to percents.

3) Have students share their productions with their classmates. Have them explain the features of technology they used and read their individual inscriptions. Also have students discuss why they decided upon their choice of greeting card. Discuss the evaluation and go over the three measures of central tendency that were calculated as a final result. Discuss how the formula that is derived from the data is based on their study of ratio and proportion.


Students analyze & describe data collected in a survey and make future predictions utilizing a formula based on ratio and proportion. (See Associated File for Data Analysis sheet and Conclusion & Evaluation.) The part of the math standard dealing with central tendency and ratio and proportion is assessed by the answers to the questions on the Poetic Greeting Cards Conclusion & Evaluation Sheet (see Associated File). Answers are dependent upon the collected data so teachers need to create their own answer keys.

Students create and produce a greeting card focusing on maximizing space and minimizing waste. (See Associated File for rubrics for assessment and sample.)

Students must demonstrate proficiency of computer skills using Microsoft Word and the Internet.
(See Associated File for rubric to use for assessment.)

Note: Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.


As an extension, have students give a formal presentation of their process.

Preceding lessons to this activity include Poetic Math Challenge and Poetic Math Challenge – Lesson 2. A terrific pace setter that really gets the students going is the Musical Math Challenge. (See Weblinks)

The last lesson in the Poetic Math Challenge Series is the graphing of data collected. Pictures say a thousand words, so as a conclusion, ‘Just Graph It’! The data collected and analyzed can now be incorporated into a spreadsheet and graphs of varying nature generated to further enhance student understanding of ratio and proportion.

Web Links

Web supplement for Poetic Math Greeting Cards
Just Graph It

Web supplement for Poetic Math Greeting Cards
Poetic Math Greeting Cards

Web supplement for Poetic Math Greeting Cards
American Greetings

Web supplement for Poetic Math Greeting Cards
Blue Mountain Arts

Web supplement for Poetic Math Greeting Cards Portal Web For Educators

Web supplement for Poetic Math Greeting Cards
Poetic Math Challenge

Web supplement for Poetic Math Greeting Cards
Lyrics Statistics

Attached Files

Surveys, rubrics, and sample card.     ;File Extension: pdf

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