Classroom Games that Boost Math Skills


There is a lot of pressure from the media and from peers to believe that math is painful. Sometimes teachers try to dress up mathematics to make it look like "a game". Instead, they are loosely veiled attempts to manipulate kids to use math in a "fun" way. But here we are sharing some interesting fun games with teachers for their students to excel in ther problematic areas.

Set 5+ (grouping/sorting)

Set is an amazing card game! This is a game that your 6-year-old will be better at than you are. This is a matching game that can be played solo or with any sized group. The rules are relatively simple. The cards each have a certain number of shapes on them of a color and pattern. A set is three cards which all have the same type of an attribute or miss-match an attribute. Perhaps a set is three cards all have ovals with a striped pattern on them, but each card has a different number of shapes (1, 2, and 3) and different colored (purple, green and red). Pro tip: Sometimes there isn't a set available in the cards on the table. When I play set with undergraduate math majors I ask them to prove to me why there isn't a set. This game fits in your purse or stroller and is perfect for a quick distraction and only requires a small table (or floor) of space.

Popsicle Stick Drop

To create this game you must have a set of Popsicle sticks. You can either write numbers on the sticks, so students must add them altogether, or you can draw dots on the sticks so students must count all of the dots in order to know the total number. The website instructs that you draw ten dots on some of the sticks and one red dot on the others. Whichever way you choose will work just fine. To begin, have students take turns holding the sticks in their hands and dropping them onto the table. The player then counts his total. Then, the second player drops their sticks and counts her total. The player with the highest total wins and gets one point. The first person to get to ten points wins the game.

The best thing about using math games is that they are fun! Students don't even realize that they are learning. So the next time you want to give out a worksheet, think about how you can turn that worksheet into a creative and fun math game instead. All you really need is a deck of cards and some dice and you've got yourself a math game.

Modifications for using it as Mental Math Skill Builder

You can use the dice during your math lessons to build up your student's mental math skills by using one set of dice. Choose the math function you want your child to work on and let them roll the dice and answer the math problem without any timing or passing. Take note of issues they have so you can work on those specific problems. As they master their math facts, have them speed up as they play.

Consecutive numbering/planning

This game is great for parents to play with your kids! It's a number game which focuses on consecutive ordering. The scoring may take parental involvement as it is a little weird at first sight. However, the cool part about this game is that everyone tries to organize the same numbers at the test cyp same time. So, you, as a parent, can compare answers with the other players. "Oh, that was a good choice, I didn't think to do it that way!" The only negative to 20 Express is that it obviously uses math and that may turn off some kids. This game is good for traveling as it doesn't require a central table and any number of people can play at once. Each player just needs a pen and something to write on.

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