Finding simple, but effective math games for elementary classrooms usually means pulling out all sorts of manipulatives, but a you will see from the guest post below, it doesn’t have to include a ton of resources. Sometimes simple really is better. Keep reading!
High Energy Math
If you step into my classroom, you’ll notice that math is one of the most high-energy parts of my day. I absolutely love teaching math! It wasn’t always like that.
When I first started teaching, math was the one time of the day I just dreaded. I felt like I was only reaching half of my students and the other half were drowning.
I learned about Singapore math strategies and I made it my goal to make math the most lively part of the day.
Singapore math strategies aren’t something new. Singapore math focuses on the WHY before the HOW.
For example, your kiddos need to understand why 4 + 4 = 8 before memorizing 4 + 4 = 8.
Do you recognize the number bond pictured below?
The number bond shows the part, part, whole relationship between three numbers and is an important part of Singapore math.
During calendar, which takes place first thing in the morning, I share a number of the day (the number in the picture was 9). Students turn and talk to discuss what two parts can equal that number. We then share several ways to make the number of the day with the whole class and I invite students to fill in the class number bond.
Number bonds are such a great way to show students number relationships and help with better understanding math facts.
If you already use number bonds in your classroom, great! Remember how I mentioned math in my classroom is high-energy? That’s because I play a ton of quick math games with my kids.
When I introduce number bonds, I always start with “Moose Math.” The kids love it AND it allows students to conceptually show their understanding of math facts.
Here’s how you play… You say a number, like 9, and students quickly make moose horns showing that number. I change numbers when all students have their hands up (making sure to correct mistakes) to keep it fun and energetic.
“Show me 9. Great! Now show me 8. Prove 8 is an even number with your hands (students show 4 and 4 with their fingers)!”
You can quickly see which students know their math facts, and which students need to look around and think before showing that number. Yup, this game can be used as a quick math assessment, also!
Need an extension? Ask pairs or small groups to make a double digit number.
Need an extra challenge? Have students make that two digit number without talking.
The rule in my classroom is that all students have to participate by showing a number with their hands if working in partners or small groups.
This game may seem silly, but my second graders love it!
There are times when I ask what the answer to a math fact is, expecting a choral response, and I have students respond by saying, “Moose Hands” followed by them quickly putting their hands up.
Playing this game frequently is truly helping my students understand their math facts.
Give my students a number and they’ll quickly know how to break it down!
Try it with your students and let me know how it goes!
What quick and easy math games do you play with your students? Feel free to share them in the comments below!
Guest blogger is Elizabeth from Tech out My Class, and she is very excited to be guest blogging for Organized Classroom! She teaches 2nd grade at a Title I school in Oregon and have taught grades K-3. She thought she was going to be an intermediate elementary teacher, but once she went primary, she never looked back!