Mental math. It causes so many students anxiety, but it’s a critical skill to be able to do more complex math. I’ve seen ideas similar to this, but they seem to use more prep (like writing things on craft sticks), so I’ve made my own. If you want each student to complete this puzzle, I recommend giving this page to each student, having them cut out the strips and glue them on a piece of paper in the right order. If you only want one set for your classroom, be sure to print it on card stock and then laminate the strips so they last longer!
I saw this idea somewhere and fell in love with it! This little house is home to a “fact family.” You could use this for addition/subtraction or for multiplication/division. I’ve made a full page version and a half page version. Sometimes having to complete a half sheet (rather than a full sheet) seems less intimidating to kids even if it’s got the same thing on it. I’ve included a page to use as an example of how to complete the graphic organizer.
This is one of my favorite games. This works for reading, math or anything you can write on a card with an answer (great for spelling words, sight words, letter sounds, math facts, states/capitals, etc).
The pictures are of our spelling words for the week. Kids get in groups of three or four. One student does not have a fly swatter, while the others each have one. The student without a fly swatter is the reader. Spread the words (or math fact cards, or whatever) on the ground. The reader reads any word. The other kids try to be the first to swat the word. Whoever swats the word first keeps the word. After the words are gone, the fly swatters get passed to the left. If you don’t have the fly swatter, you become the reader. Be sure to set up rules before the game that if someone intentionally swats another student with the fly swatter they sit out a round, or whatever your class rule would be. For a whole class experience put the words on the board and give each team one fly swatter. Kids love this game!
My friend over at Cultivating Questioners had this to say about the fly swatter game: “I divide my whiteboard into two sections and write words or numbers on the board randomly. I then divide the students into two teams. I have one person from each team step forward with the fly swatter in hand. I then call out a problem or word and the students run to the front of the room and slap the correct answer in their team’s section. They love it!”
Pass out a large sheet of paper to groups of 2-4 students. Then have them create a poster that shows what key words are associated with each of the 4 basic math operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Then post them on the wall as a reminder throughout the year. If you don’t have enough space to display them all, designate one spot for a poster and rotate through them throughout the year. When you switch posters to display a new group’s poster, have the group members review the key words with the whole class.
I’m a huge fan of games. They disguise potentially unpleasant practice! Here’s my collection of math turtles to help your kids practice basic math skills (including simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Happy spring!