Lesson Plan Title : Traveling at Thanksgiving

Age Range: Grade 9 through grade 12 (High School)

Overview and Purpose: Thanksgiving is the most traveled holiday of the year. Use this opportunity to have your students practice statistics and probability.

Objective: The student will be able to use statistical data to predict delays and wait times for people flying over Thanksgiving.


Data from the FAA about the number of flights, delays, and travelers over the Thanksgiving holiday

Teacher created worksheet


Ask students if they have ever flown anywhere over the Thanksgiving holiday. Encourage them to share their stories and share some of your own. Pass out the statistical data from the FAA or other sites. Explain how to read any charts or graphs and then give the students a few minutes to look over the information. Discuss the data and point out any statistics that stand out.

Pass out the worksheet and let the students work individually or together to complete the math problems.

Sample questions:

1. What is the average length of time a plane is delayed?

2. What is the percentage of planes that are delayed between 3:00 and 9:00 PM on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving?

3. What is the probability that my plane will be delayed during that time?

Wrap Up:

An extension of this lesson would be to have students plan a trip over the holiday. They would need to consider when the best time to leave would be, which airline they would fly on, and what time they would need to arrive at the airport.