The Teacher's Guide-Free Worksheets, SMARTboard templates, and lesson plans for teachers.

Math Activities

Math Activities, Math Games

Math Activities

Place Value


Materials needed: 2 or more sets of blue, yellow, orange and red cards numbered 0 - 9.
Directions: Split students up into two teams (more teams may be made for bigger
groups.) Provide each group with a set of cards in each color (1 or more card per
student). Allow the students to choose which colors represent the different place values (i.e. Red = ones place, Blue = tens place, etc.). The same color/place value combinations will be used by the entire group. The teacher selects a number at random (such as 5096) and the teams race to produce the number with their cards. The first team to produce the number correctly gets a point. The teacher determines how many rounds to play. Options: This game can be modified to fit different grade levels by either adding or removing sets of different colored cards numbered 0 - 9, making 3 digit numbers or 5 digit numbers. Another option is to add a decimal point for work with decimal numbers.


Place Value Bingo is a game in which students can increase their place value skills.
Materials needed: 70 3" by 5" index cards, 12 5" by 7" poster board or card stock for
bingo cards, items to use as markers (bingo markers, corn, beans, etc.), markers for

Directions to make the game:
To make the calling cards use the 70 index cards. On each card write examples like:
"the seven in seven thousand four hundred ten" Under this phrase write: "7,410"
"the three in one hundred three 103"
"the four in thirteen dollars and forty cents $14.40"
To make the bingo cards divide the card into 5 columns: ten-thousands, thousands,
hundreds, tens and ones (or alternatively, hundreds, tens, ones, tenths, hundredths).
Under each heading there are five rows, so you end up with a 5 by 5 grid. Place the
numerals 0 - 9 in each square randomly. Make sure each card is different.

Directions for playing the game:
2 - 12 may play (if you use both sets of cards)
Each player gets a bingo card and several markers. Players take turns drawing a "call card" and read the words aloud. All players who have that number in the correct place mark it. The number on the call card is there as a check. The first player to get five in a row (vertically, horizontally or diagonally) wins! Be sure to check the winner's card to be positive that he/she marked the numbers correctly.


This game is designed for two to six players.
Materials needed: a game board which has four digit numbers on dog bone shapes.
Players follow the path from "start" to "finish." A sample set of numbers to be placed on the bones is: 4715, 8602, 3954, 7028, 1469, 5471, 6290, 2836, 9547, 6183, 5082, 7351, 4608, 1529. In addition you need game pieces for each player, score cards and a spinner with the numerals 0 to 9.

Directions: All players place their pieces on start. To decide the first player, spin the
spinner and the person with the highest number moves first. To move, spin the spinner. Then move your game piece to the nearest dog bone with that number on it. You score the place value amount represented by the number. (For example, if you spin a 7 and the nearest bone has the number 3710 on it, you score 100 points because the 7 is in hundreds place.) On each play players score 1, 10, 100 or 1000 points. Keep a tally on the score sheet. When players get their game pieces to finish, they total their scores. The highest score wins! Alternatives: Player with the lowest score wins. The player that reaches finish first wins. The player that reaches finish last wins. You may adjust the game board to only deal with 1, 10 and 100, or you could add places up to millions. You could include decimal places. The play is meant to follow a path from start to finish, but you could allow students to move either forward or backward along the path. You could attach penalties or bonuses
for landing on certain bones or getting certain scores (if you get exactly 10,000 points -at the end- you get to double your score OR if you have exactly 5,000 points, you lose 2,000).


Materials needed: balloon notepad paper serves as the "gameboard" for students. Four white squares have been placed on the balloons with the labels of thousands, hundreds, tens and ones (or alternatively, tens, ones, tenths, hundredths). The balloons are laminated. A spinner numbered 0 to 9 and mark-on wipe-off markers are needed.

Directions: Each player selects a balloon. The students take turns spinning the spinner. Each time a student spins a number all students must choose a place on the balloon where they want to put that number. A number may only be placed in one value and may not be changed later. The player with the highest number after four spins wins the game. The numbers on the balloons may be erased and the game played again. Variations: Spin a total of 6 times and each player may skip 2 numbers of their choice. Pick a certain number of spins (5 - 10). Use the decimal balloons. Use an overhead spinner and do this as a class project. Follow up with a graph showing how many students "made" the same number.


What is a GLYPH? According to the 1992 Webster's College Dictionary a glyph is a
pictograph or hieroglyph; any symbol bearing information non-verbally such as a handicap accessible symbol in the restroom.
Why use glyphs? Glyphs allow students to collect, display, and interpret data about
themselves and other meaningful topics. This activity will also allow the student to
practice using a legend in the creation of the glyph.

How to create a glyph:
1 Choose a topic for data collection and analysis
2 Choose clip art items to represent the topic, or create your own designs
3 Introduce the concept of glyphs, show examples of what a glyph might look like,
then present the topic to be used in the creation of the glyph.
4 Data collection process will be determined by the ability of the students. For the
younger student you will want to present the survey/legend one step at a time. In
an older group all the material may be presented in one step, with the
survey/legend on one sheet of paper
5 Go through the steps of the legend to create the glyph
6 Once the glyphs are completed, you may begin to analyze the data collected by
"reading" the glyphs.
7 To provide an extension of the readings you may graph the information on bar
charts, Venn diagrams, number lines, or circle graphs.


Each student chooses one item from each of the five areas shown on the menu (below). Glue pictures of the food items to a small paper plate. Create a bar graph of the Main Dish choices (or any other category). Create a three-circle Venn diagram labeled: strawberries, ice cream, salad bowl. Students place their plates in the appropriate circle or one of the intersection points or outside the diagram, as appropriate. Extensions: find the cost for your plate of food; figure your change if you paid for your food with a $10.00 bill; figure the total cost of the food chosen by your group if the principal decided to pay for all the meals; and create a circle graph showing the total group cost of the meal.


Today's food choices are:

Main Dish pizza (1 slice) $2.00 Vegetable corn on the cob $0.80

hamburger $2.75 carrots $0.45

chicken $3.25 salad bowl $1.35

Fruit apple $0.80 Dessert pie $1.75

strawberries $1.25 ice cream $1.25

grapes $1.00 cupcake $0.80

Beverage Milk $1.10

Punch $1.00

Coffee $0.90


This is a way of showing the concept of multiplication and of memorizing the
multiplication facts. Materials needed: pipe cleaner hoops (about 10 per student) and a large number of small objects to be used as counters (centimeter cubes from base ten blocks work well!)

Directions: Explain -- In the multiplication problem 4 x 3, the 4 is the number of groups and the 3 is the number in each group. To "make" this problem students would put out four hoops and place three counters in each hoop:
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The students would then count the number of objects in the hoops to get their answer. This activity is also good for demonstrating the commutative property of multiplication

(4 x 3 = 3 x 4).

When the students are ready to begin memorizing the multiplication facts, it is best to
begin with 0s and 1s - being sure to write problems as "0 x 4 =" as well as "7 x 0 =" using the commutative property. After the 0s and 1s, work on 2s and 5s, then 3s and 4s. Spend as much time as needed for these. Show the "nine trick" -- hold both hands out palm down and for the problem 2 x 9, you put the second finger down (ring finger on the left hand), the answer is 18, the one to the left of the finger down and the other eight on the right of the finger placed down. All of the 9s up to 9 x 10 work on the fingers. At this point there are only SIX facts left: 6 x 6, 6 x 7, 6 x 8, 7 x 7, 7 x 8, 8 x 8. If you make a table (see below) and have the students fill in the products that they know already, it is easy to see that there are only six facts left. If the students learn the doubles,

and 56 = 7 x 8 (5, 6, 7, 8), the only two difficult ones are 6 x 7 and 6 x 8.
00 22 44 66 88 11 33 55 77 99
00 00 00 00 00 00
22 0 4 8 12 16 2 6 10 14 18
44 0 8 16 24 32 4 12 20 28 36
66 0 12 24 6 18 30 54
88 0 16 32 X 8 24 40 72
11 02 46 81 35 79
33061218 243915 2127
55 0 10 20 30 40 5 15 25 35 45
77 0 14 28 X X 7 21 35 63
99 0 18 36 54 72 9 27 45 63 81


Pattern blocks are a collection of six shapes in six colors -- green triangles, orange
squares, blue parallelograms, tan parallelograms, red trapezoids and yellow hexagons. The shapes are designed so that all the sides are 1 inch except for the long base of the trapezoid which is 2 inches. This makes it possible for the shapes to fit together and provides for a wide range of explorations. To this end pattern blocks offer numerous teaching and learning activities. They can be used when discussing shapes and patterns. Problem solving possibilities are also offered. Spatial problems, sorting and counting are also options. Other uses include such things as graphing and comparing. A major area in which pattern blocks are extremely useful is an are which is often difficult for students -- fractions. The yellow hexagon represents ONE WHOLE. Therefore the red trapezoid is one-half, the blue parallelogram is one-third, and the green triangle is one-sixth. The orange and tan pieces are not used for work with fractions.

I HAVE . . . WHO HAS . . .?

A set of 24 or more cards are distributed to a class of students - at least one card per student. The cards are made up as follows: A picture of one yellow hexagon is on the card along with the phrase "Who has 1/6?" The student says "I have one whole. Who has one sixth?" The student who has one green triangle on his/her card responds "I have one sixth. Who has one third?" The student who has a card with a blue parallelogram on it responds. Remaining cards say: "I have 1/3. Who has 1/2?" "I have 1/2. Who has 2/3?" "I have 2/3. Who has 4/6?" "I have 4/6. Who has 2/3 and 1/6?" "I have 2/3 and 1/6. Who has 1 and 1/6?" "I have 1 and 1/6. Who has 1/2 and 1/3?" "I have 1/2 and 1/3. Who has 1/2 and 1/6?" "I have 1/2 and 1/6. Who has 1 whole and 2/3?" "I have 1 whole and 2/3. Who has 1 whole and 1/2?" "I have 1 whole and 1/2. Who has 1/3 and 1/6?" "I have 1/3 and 1/6. Who has 5/6?" "I have 5/6. Who has 1 whole and 4/6?" "I have 1 whole and 4/6. Who has 2 wholes?" "I have 2 wholes. Who has 1 whole and 5/6?" "I have 1 whole and 5/6. Who has 1 whole and 2/6?" "I have 1 whole and 2/6. Who has 1 whole and 1/3?" "I have 1 whole and 1/3. Who has 2/6?" "I have 2/6. Who has 1/2 and 2/6?" "I have 1/2 and 2/6. Who has 1 whole 1/2 and 1/3?" "I have 1 whole 1/2 and 1/3. Who has 1 whole and 3/6?" "I have 1 whole and 3/6. Who has 1 whole 2/3 and 1/6?" "I have 1 whole 2/3 and 1/6. Who has one whole?" Now you are back at the beginning.


A set of cards with pattern block illustrations of fractions and mixed numbers and a
second set of cards with the written fractions or mixed numbers are made. They are
shuffled and turned over randomly. First player turns over two cards. If they are a match, the player keeps the cards and turns over two more cards. If they do not match, both are turned back over and the next student has a turn. Play continues until all the pairs are matched. Player with the most matches is the winner.



This activity is a practice of addition and multiplication using estimation and calculator skills. It can be played by two people or two teams.

Materials needed: A large target is on the right side of a page of paper with an arrow
pointing into the center of it. On the arrow is shown the "target price" for a given round. For example, it might say, "Target price $8.00 - $9.00" for a specific round. Then above the arrow and target twelve numbers are given: $1.59, $2.39, $1.48, $2.75, $3.19, $1.09, $3.63, $1.43, $2.56, $1.37, $2.25, and $1.99.

Directions for Addition: One team (or player) will use estimation, the other will use
calculators. Player one will be challenged to find five amounts from the list that, when
added together, will produce a sum equal to or between the target prices. The first player or team to hit the target earns a point. The team or player to earn five points first wins.

Directions for Multiplication: Again one team (or player) will use estimation, the other
calculators. Teams will be asked to choose one or two of the amounts from the list. They are to multiply that amount by a number that will net a product that will be equal to or be between the target prices. The team that hits the target first earns one point. The first team to earn five points wins. Variation: Bring products into the classroom and display with the actual price. This allows the students to better visualize the buying power of a dollar.


The "city" board is in a hexagon shape with "roads" connecting each vertex with every
other vertex, making 9 inner lines and the 6 outer lines of the hexagon. At a each vertex a "place" is indicated: home, zoo, grandma's, ice cream parlor, school, and library. Each section of a "road" between all intersections are labeled with an addition or subtraction sign and a number between 1 and 100. A spinner is labeled with the six "places." Each student needs a calculator and a game piece.

Directions: Each player begins with 100 showing on his/her calculator and begins at
HOME. The first player spins the spinner and must decide how to move his/her marker on the gameboard to the picture/vertex indicated. The student may use any path, but must perform all the mathematical operations shown on the streets traveled. If a player spins the picture where he/she currently is, player loses the turn. Each player spins 10 times, taking turns. The player with the highest total number wins. (Alternative: Player with the smallest number wins. Player closest to a "TARGET" number wins.)