By Deann Marin at The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs
There are so many creative math warm-ups to help get your class excited about math class. Here are some that I’ve used. At least once a week, we had a math bee using flash cards for addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division. I would hold up a card and each child would have a chance to answer. If the answer was correct, they would keep the card.. We would do this for at least 30 minutes and the student with the most cards would win. The winner would act as the teacher and hold up the cards for the next game.
The math bee could also be done as a collaborative group activity. One child would be the leader/teacher of the group and hold up the card, and each child in the group would have their chance to answer. The winner would be the leader the next time we did the activity. Collaborative groups worked so well because each child had a turn more often. Of course they all wanted to win because they liked being the leader/teacher of the group or the class.
This next warm-up lasts about 5-10 minutes and you can do it at the beginning of each math class. Write 5-10 math problems on the board, have them work on them at their seats. Then call on students to come to the board and write their answer. I would ask questions such as, what operation or operations did you use to get your answer, or is this answer correct, why or why not. If we were working on math facts, I would sometimes put the problem on the board with the incorrect answer and ask them to fix it and then have them explain why the answer was wrong. In addition to this, you could write down a problem with the correct answer and ask why it is correct. At other times, I would put a problem on the board with the correct answer, but without a mathematical sign. They would have to tell me whether the example was addition, multiplication, addition, subtraction or a combination .
My partner used an awesome activity called mental math. He would come up with a math example, or word problem that the children would do in their heads, they couldn’t use paper. The first child to answer correctly would come up with a math example for the other students,/teacher and/or both to figure out. He also had them make up mental math problems for a homework assignment. They enjoyed it so much that often times I would hear them doing mental math with their friends while walking down the hall or sitting in homeroom. They especially loved it when they could stump the teacher, which didn’t happen often, but when it did, you could hearthe class cheering.
Another great activity for the beginning of each math class is called Help Me Get There. I would put a number on the board such as 150 and the class would figure out all the combinations of numbers that are equal to it.
Here are some examples:
- 30 X 5=150
- 450 ÷3=150
Another fun activity is Guess What Number is in My Head. This game is similar to 20 questions. Draw a big head on the board with a question mark. The class will ask questions to arrive at the correct answer. The child who guesses the answer gets to think of the next number. This can also be done in collaborative groups. I actually prefer this method because the kids get more chances. As closure for this activity, each group gets to pick a number for the teacher and classmates to guess.
Questions you might ask are:
- Is the number odd or even?
- Does the number end with a 0?
- Is the number smaller than 25?
- Is the number divisible by 2?
- Is the number an integer?
Use your imagination and I just know that you will come up with some great ideas.
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