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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Math Games

Math is such a great opportunity to get up, get moving, and have fun!  I always enjoy teaching math and watching as the kiddos get really into their learning.  Today, I thought I would share with you two math games that we played this week that are packed full of excitement and quality content.  I am not sure how your math block is laid out, but- for reference- here is how I schedule my math time:  my math block is an hour and 15 minutes long so I have a good chunk of time to work.  We start with a 15 minute whole group direct lesson.  This is the time where we talk about the learning target and I explicitly model the skill that we are working on.   The students then move to different workstations with their group.  They are in an ability group right now so that the skills can easily be modified or adapted to their skill level/their area of need.  They spend 15 minutes at each of the 4 stations every day.  The last 15 minutes are for an exit slip/re-group where we reinforce our learning for the day. PHEW! Now that I got that out of the way, here are the math games I wanted to tell you about!

Place Value Toss
This game is so easy and such a blast!  It all came to me when I was thinking about Bozo the Clown.  Do you remember that show?  Well, I used to watch it on Saturday mornings- and the kids on the show played a game with buckets laid out in a vertical row.  The kids tried to toss a ball into each consecutive bucket.  For the math version of this game- the buckets are labeled ones, tens, hundreds, etc. and the students stand at the marked spot and toss their bags into the buckets.
  I gave the students 10 bean bags to toss.  The students who were in the "peanut gallery" sat with white boards so that we could record each students score-first in expanded notation and then in standard form. 

Once everyone had a turn, the students wrote their score on their whiteboard and then- without talking- put themselves into numerical order.

This was the first time we played this game and it was a blast.  The kids got very excited and very loud!  Our top score was 50,000.  It was  a great way for me to check the students understanding of a couple different things- their ability to move from expanded notation to standard form, their ability to read a number, if they placed the comma in the correct spot and then if they understood the value of their number.  I will play this game again but I would first get special- sturdier buckets and might use paint to label the buckets.  I just used these buckets I had on hand to test out the game and they easily tipped over and slid around on the carpet.  Hope you enjoy this game as much as my kiddos did!

 This is a game that I learned from one of my former teammates.  She is a fantastic teacher and I learned many things from my time working with her.  This is a card game that the students ask and ask and ask again to play!  Are you familiar with the game spoons? This is a spin on that game- so be prepared for the room to get loud!  Students are dealt 5 cards each, the object of the game is to use only 2 of the cards to make 10.  
You can start out with addition and them move on if you want to make it more difficult. If they don't have anything to make 10- they discard one card and take a new card.  If they do have 2 cards to make 10, things get interesting!  In the center of the table is a group of cubes- one less than the number of students in the group.  The person who has 10 lays their 10 face up on the table and quickly grabs the cube.  The rest of the students have to be quick and pay attention so that they can also grab a cube.  The person left without one gets a "T" and when they spell "TEN" they are out.  If a student calls 10 and grabs a cube without actually having a 10, putting 7 + 4 for example, then they are the one who has the "T" and the student without the cube is safe for that round.  It is a fun game and the kids get very into it.

I hope you enjoy math games as much as I do!  I know that it can be hard to find time in the day to play games but I try to make it a workstation and a whole group "fun Friday" activity.


  1. Those are great games. In that first game I love how everyone is accountable and thinking even though not everyone is tossing. Nicely done!

    Forever in First

    1. Thanks! Thanks for your management tips on your page as well!

  2. Fun games! I will need to try them out I know my kids would love them. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Doris- let me know how it works in your class!

  3. We have Math Madness night tomorrow and we are playing Fast-10 at my booth. We've also played the place value game with coins to practice adding money. The kids love them both. Thanks for the ideas!

    It's Grow Time!

    1. That is so cool Dani! Thanks for letting me know, I am super impressed that the games are making their way around :)