# Unlock the Box! Christmas Math Activity Gr. 2-3 {Addition & Subtraction Stories}

Resource Type
Common Core Standards
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Product Description

Unlock the Box! is an engaging math challenge for Christmas, with an addition and subtraction focus. An elf named Ingrid has locked a prize inside of a box, and students must solve her clues and find the key to unlock the box!

In the first series of clues, students solve engaging addition and subtraction story problems about Ingrid the Elf, which will help them figure out a password. The password is then given to the teacher in order to receive the final page of clues, in which students must use addition and subtraction facts to decode a message that reveals the location of the key. Once students find the key, they’ll unlock the box and share Ingrid’s prize with the entire class!

I provide you with:

• the note from Ingrid the Elf to set the scene
• ideas for prizes including a collectible ribbon/bookmark (collect them all!) and a sheet of homework passes
• paper lock, key, and straps to secure the box containing the prize (Don't worry about it being made of paper: Ingrid warns that the prize will self-destruct if anyone tries to tamper with the lock without the correct key. However, you could also use a real lock and key with a box secured with a chain.)
• Clues with addition/subtraction story problems (about Ingrid) and clever puzzles that students must solve in order to ultimately find the location of the hidden key (*Three difficulty levels of all clues are given. See below for details.)
• Step-by-step, detailed instructions on how to set up the materials, including: preparing the prize box, hiding the key (two specific options provided), setting out the clues, and leading the activity.

All you provide is a box that closes (like a shoe box or storage bin).

The math focus in this activity is addition and subtraction. Three versions of the clues are provided, each at a different level of difficulty. The challenge is intended to be done in partnerships and without calculators, to practice these math skills. Below is an explanation of each difficulty level:

Version A (grade 2) is the least challenging: all addition and subtraction to be done is “within 100.” Problems may include:

• 2-digit number +/- 2-digit number (without regrouping)
• 2-digit number +/- 1-digit number

Version B (grade 2/3) is more challenging. Problems may include:

• 2-digit number +/- 2-digit number (with regrouping)
• 3-digit number +/- 1-digit number or a multiple of ten

Version C (grades 3) is the most challenging: all addition and subtraction to be done is “within 1,000.” Problems may include:

• 2-digit number +/- 2-digit number (with regrouping)
• 3-digit number +/- 3-digit number (with or without regrouping)

(Note to Third Grade Teachers who are comparing the Gr. 2-3 Edition with the Gr. 3-5 Edition: The main differences between the most challenging version of the 2-3 Edition and the least challenging version of the 3-5 Edition are: stories and format. In the 2-3 Edition, the math stories are shorter and simpler, and the formatting of the clues is more straightforward. The actual numbers needing to be calculated within the stories are relatively similar.)

**NOTE: This resource is NOT editable.**

Check out the full line of my Unlock the Box! activities:

• **COMING SOON!** Unlock the Box for Halloween with Mack the Bat
• **COMING SOON!** Unlock the Box for Thanksgiving with Tad the Turkey
• Unlock the Box for Christmas with Ingrid the Elf
• Unlock the Box for Winter with Chuck the Snowman
• **COMING SOON!** Unlock the Box for Valentine's Day with Viv
• **COMING SOON!** Unlock the Box for St. Patrick's Day with Lenny the Leprechaun
• **COMING SOON!** Unlock the Box for the End of the Year with Carl the Crab
• **COMING SOON!** Unlock the Box Pirates! with Penny the Pirate

**For personal and single classroom use only. If using with multiple classrooms, please purchase additional licenses at the discounted rate.**

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Visit me at my blog: The Thinker Builder, or on Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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You might also be interested in my winter literature units, like The North Pole Express.

Total Pages
20+
Included
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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