Math Games and Activities
Add fun and variety to your class by playing a game.
Games break the monotony of taking notes and solving problems, taking notes and solving problems.
Different students will take interest and excel at different types of activities.
Games are also fun for the teacher.
The ideas below can be used with or without our software and can be adapted for any class from Pre-Algebra to Algebra 2 and beyond.
Group activity / Groups of 4-6 students / Suitable for single topics, units, or whole course reviews / 15-30 min
- Groups of five students will race to see which can first correctly answer all of the questions on their worksheet.
- Create a worksheet that has six questions on it. Print 30 different versions, each with an answer sheet and with a version ID number. Separate the answer keys and the worksheets.
- Divide the class into groups of five. Have them move their desks together. Ask each group to choose a name for itself. Write these names on the board and use them to keep score. Ask each group to choose a runner. The runner is the student who will bring the group's answers to you.
- Give each group a worksheet. They must correctly answer each question on the worksheet as quickly as they can. They can divide the questions any way they wish. All of the answers must be written on the paper you gave them. When they have solved all of the questions and written the answers on the paper, the runner brings the paper to you. Check the answers, stopping as soon as you find one that is wrong. Give the paper back to the runner and tell them which question was wrong (Note: there might be other questions that are wrong that you didn't get to check yet.) The first group to get all of their questions correct wins three points. The second place team wins two points. If a team submits wrong answers three times then they are disqualified from that round. Once the first two teams are done, stop the round, record the points on the board and begin a new round.
To maintain discipline, tell the class that if a group is too loud, then all of the other groups will be given one point.
Reward the winning team.
Whole Class Competition
Group activity / Divide class in half / Suitable for a unit or whole course review / 15-50 min
- Divide the class into two. One student from each team comes to the board and tries to solve the same problem. The first student to get the right answer wins a point for their team.
- Create a worksheet with about 60 questions. This can easily be done with a Kuta Software product by merging past assignments and then scaling the length to 60 questions. Make the assignment one page long if possible. Print the assignment with "answers in context." Bring the answer sheet to class.
- Divide the class into two. The easiest method is to make the left half of the room one team and the right half of the room the other team. On the board, draw two vertical lines to separate it into three parts. The middle part is for you, the part on the left is for the team on the left, and the part on the right is for the team on the right. Have each group provide a name. Write the team names on the appropriate sides of the board.
- One student from each team comes to the board. Write a question in the middle of the board. The first student to give the correct answer to the problem receives a point for their team.
The order in which students come to the board should be simple, such as "this row from front to back, then this row from front to back... etc." At the board, the student indicates a final answer by circling it. An answer is not considered official until it is circled. An answer that has been circled cannot be changed. If both students at the board get the question wrong, then the question remains the same for the next two students, but the question is now worth more points.
Discipline can be maintained very effectively with this rule: Students may talk while no students are at the board, but as soon as a question is on the board, then the class has to be quiet. If a team member talks then the other team gets a point. Note that the students at the board continue working even if a team surrenders a point due to talking. The students at the board can't be helped by anyone on their team.
Reward the winning team.
Individual activity / Suitable for one to three skills / 20 minutes
- Students solve problems that you write on the board. They find the answers on their BINGO cards. If the answers form a line, then they score BINGO and win.
- Create a worksheet with 24 questions that all have different answers. A simple way to create a review worksheet is to merge previous assignments into one, and then scale the number of questions to 24. Be sure no two questions have the same answer. Print the assignment with a separate answer sheet. If you use an overhead projector, make a transparency of the answer sheet.
- Have each student take out a piece of paper and draw a BINGO card
on it. Display the answers to the questions on the board/overhead projector. Each student writes the answers randomly on their BINGO card, with one answer per square. They should be sure to write the question number alongside the answer.
- Randomly select questions from the worksheet you created and write them on the board. Do not write the number of the question you selected on the board, but circle it on your own paper. Slowly and regularly write new questions on the board.
Students solve the questions individually at their desks, each at their own pace. When they get an answer, they put an X over it on their board. A student has BINGO when X's make a vertical line, horizontal line, diagonal line, or cover all four corners.
To make the game last longer, use more than 24 questions.
Reward the students who score BINGO.
Quick and Fun Review
Individual Activity / Suitable for any number of skills / 3-30 minutes / Not for speed
- All students solve a problem that you give them. Randomly pick a student. If that student can explain the problem correctly and has the correct answer, then they get to choose: win one bonus point, or gamble for either two points or nothing.
- Almost no planning is necessary. Questions can be invented on the spot. This activity is extremely flexible. Questions can be simple, advanced, old, or new. You may wish to bring props with which the students may gamble once you have your own favorite methods.
- No setup necessary. Students stay in their seats. They will each need a piece of paper.
- Write a question on the board and instruct all students to solve it. Give everyone plenty of time to finish it. Randomly pick a student. Ask that student to explain how to solve the problem. If they can correctly solve the problem, then they get to choose: 1) win one bonus point; or 2) gamble their point. If they gamble and win, they get two points. If they gamble and lose, they get no points.
The gamble can be anything. Here are some favorites:
- Throw a piece of paper into the trash can from 10 feet away.
- Answer a trivia question.
- Throw a piece of paper behind your back and catch it.
- Correctly guess a coin flip.
You can poll the class for more gambling ideas. You can also give the student their choice of how they wish to gamble.