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Lesson Plan

Saved By the Bell


  • Mathematics


  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

This fast-paced team game is a fun way to practice math facts.


Students will

  • play fairly as a member of a team.
  • practice math facts.


bell, math facts, game, addition facts, multiplication facts, times tables, subtraction facts, addition, subtraction, multiplication, multiplication tables

Materials Needed

  • a bell for each team (the customer service bells that ring when you press the button on top are ideal); or substitute a musical instrument or another noisemaker for the bell
  • flash cards

Lesson Plan

Arrange students into two or more teams. Two teams might be the most manageable arrangement; but the more teams you have for this game, the more practice students get. You must have a bell or noisemaker for each team. (If you want to make this a really special event, give each student a party blower to use!)


You might appoint a scorekeeper to record points as they are awarded. You also might appoint a flash-card handler, especially if students have played before and you have modeled the role of the flash-card handler.

Have each team line up facing you. At the head of each line, position a desk with a bell on top of it.

To start the game, have the one member of each team step to the desk. Students' hands should be ready to ring the bell. Show them the next math-fact flash card in the stack. As soon as a student knows the answer, he or she rings the bell. The first student to ring the bell gets to call out the answer. If the student who rings the bell calls out the correct solution without delay, he or she earns a point for his or her team. If the bell-ringer delays a response or calls out the wrong answer, the opposing team earns the point. After that round, the first two students run to the back of their respective team's line and the next two players step forward and prepare to answer a question.

The game moves quickly. The more quickly it moves, the more chances for math-fact practice each student gets. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins.


Did students follow the rules? Did they play fairly and compete in a sportsmanlike manner? Did the losers congratulate the winners on their victory? Did the winners accept their congratulations humbly?

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
GRADES Pre-K - 2
NM-NUM.PK-2.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
GRADES 3 - 5
NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
GRADES 6 - 8
NM-NUM.6-8.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates

Find more great math teaching ideas in Education World's Math Center.

Click to return to the Lesson Planning article, Just the Facts: Five Games for Teaching Math Facts.