I am a HUGE fan of using games to teach and reinforce math concepts. One of the biggest misconceptions that I hear is that math is boring. With the addition of math games into the regular classroom routine, math can be engaging, exciting, and fun.
With a simple deck of cards and a few dice, you can play many different kinds of games to reinforce many different topics. In the past I’ve even given students a few dice or a deck of cards and had them make up their own math game!
A few ways that you can use dice/cards quickly and easily in the classroom to reinforce basic math facts include:
- Have students roll two dice and add them up to make a sum (alternatively subtract to make a difference, or multiply to make a product). This is SO much more fun that simply completing a worksheet for basic facts, and can be done with no preparation. I like to have 20-sided dice on hand for higher level equations.
- Here’s a little freebie that provides a graph that students can use during a roll and add activity.
- Practice Doubles facts with dice and have students graph their progress. I wrote a blog post about this activity HERE.
- Salute is a fantastic game that can be played with three people and a deck of cards. My students could never get enough of this game! Read more about it HERE.
When should Math games be used in the classroom?
I prefer to use games as reinforcement. For example, you could teach a mini-lesson, allow some guided and independent practice, and then have students play a game to reinforce their new learning. I also like to use Math games as a center. Students can play in pairs or groups of three. In this case, the game is always one that they have played before (because of the independent nature of centers).
Basic facts are an ideal skill to practice during math games, because it’s a way to reinforce those facts all year long, even while you are focusing on other concepts in your classroom.
All of my Math Stations and Mental Math Strategy Units also contain math games that are sure to engage even your most un-motivated students! Please click on the hyperlinks below to access these resources:
- Click here to access all self-paced, student-centered Math Stations for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and fractions.
Mental Math Strategy Units
- Mental Math Strategy Units: the Complete Addition Collection
- Mental Math Strategy Units: the Complete Subtraction Collection