This fun-filled math game can be used to reinforce math skills across the grades.
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This lesson will stimulate students' thinking, since there is a fun-filled reward for each correct answer!
At the beginning of class, hand each student a small plastic sandwich bag containing 10 index cards with numbers or math facts on them.
Note: Write grade appropriate math problems on the cards. The real beauty of this game is that it can be used across the grades to reinforce a wide range of math skills. Think of any math skill you teach and chances are you will be able to use this game to reinforce that skill. For example:
- If you teach first grade, the cards might have simple addition facts on them: 4+0, 2 + 5, 7 + 3, 3+ 3
- If you teach third grade you might provide cards offering practice in multiplication facts or reinforcement of subtraction with borrowing (regrouping).
- If you teach fifth grade, you might provide a set of cards that include five decimals and five fractions.
- If you teach seventh grade, you might provide a broad range of numbers (for example, -2, 3.14444, 82, 16743, -1/2, -3 5/8); students employ their knowledge of place value as they sequence the numbers.
Arrange students into groups of 2 to 4. Provide each group with a supply of clothespins and one long skipping rope. Tell students that when you give the signal to start the game, they are to open the packet of cards and use the clothespins to attach the cards to the jump rope in the correct order. Students have to figure out the value of each number/fact card in relation to the others.
After team members have correctly placed all their numbers/fact cards on the rope in the correct order, each team member takes one giant step toward the finish line. One team member goes first; putting down a clothespin where he or she lands; then the other two members take turns making a giant step toward the finish line. Mark with a clothespin the place where the students ended up. The then get another set of cards and continue the game. The first team to reach the finish line wins.
Another idea! Instead of taking giant steps, students might use the jump rope in a more physical activity. Have each student jump rope once toward the finish line, or let each team member jump until they trip. Tally the total number of jumps made by all team members; that number becomes their score for the round. At the end of the game, the team with the most accumulated jumps wins. (That takes some of the pressure off this game as an academic competition. The team that does the best at sequencing numbers might not end up winning the jump-rope tally contest.)
Students truly enjoy this activity; I use it at the middle school level to reinforce understanding of place value. It's refreshing to witness middle school students get so much enjoyment from math class.
AssessmentStudents' understanding can be assessed by how well and how fast they arrange the number cards in the correct order. Because this activity is group work, it also might be beneficial to give a quiz on place value to assess individual students' grasp of the concepts.
Laurie McGrath, Holy Trinity Elementary School, St.John's, Newfoundland (Canada)Education World®
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