Thursday, June 10, 2010

Guided Math Games

Math Games:

I think the key is to have enough games so that the kids do not get bored at this station.  It is important to also have a variety of math skills for them to practice.  I try to supply games that fit in with our current math topic, although sometimes that is easier said than done.

You can rotate the game each day you have math stations or rotate the game once a week.  I personally rotate the game each day.  I think it leads to less boredom, which leads to less off task behavior.  At the beginning of the math stations I will announce which game is open for that day.  Sometimes I may say, "Today you may play any addition/subtraction game or multiplication."  I choose a math theme and they can have a choice within that theme.  It is a good idea to have a posted list of every game that is available for kids to choose and which math category it goes under. Once a week I have Choice day.  During this day students may choose what game they want to play.

Now as most teachers know, you cannot just let the kids start the math game station without setting rules, guidelines and practicing correct station behaviors.  You also have to teach the kids how to play the games.  I will have a post that highlights how I set this up at the beginning of the year (link to follow).

Starting up a math game station does not mean you have to go out and spent a lot of money on games.  In fact there are a lot of math games you can create yourself using simple materials such as dice.  Here are some links to some great math dice games.  There is enough here to teach quite a few different games.  This is something that I would teach at the beginning of the school year.  They are quick, simple games to learn and play.

Math Dice Games

Marilyn Burns Math Dice Games

More Dice Games

Here are some links to different math dice you can purchase for relatively low prices through Amazon.  Also remember to check Ebay, sometimes you can get great deals there.


Think Fun Math Dice


Sequence Dice

Farkle The Classic Dice-Rolling, Risk-Taking Game

Set of 5 Dice - 6 Sided Math Operators - White and Blue

My math game station consists of mainly math board games. Over the last several years I have acquired quite a variety of different board games. I have been very fortunate to receive several grants to purchase math materials through DonorsChoose. I have also used classroom money and dipped into just a little bit into my own pocket to purchase games.

One year, when I did dip into my own pocket, I invested in Frog Math.  They have a variety of different levels and one box set comes with numerous math category game cards.  Check it out...

Frog Math Game Set

Also LakeShore Learning has a great variety of math games.  DonorsChoose uses LakeShore as one of their vendors, so I was able to get my math games through LakeShore.

LakeShore Learning

Of course students have their tried and true favorites...

Allowance GameThe Allowance Game:  The kids can't get enough of this game!!  Every year, it is a hands down class favorite.  During choice day, students always choose this one.  Of course I have two of these on hand.  I was very fortunate to find one at a garage sale on summer!  You can also find this for cheaper through LakeShore Learning.

Sequence NumbersI added this one this school year and it quickly became a favorite.  Are you familiar with the original version of Sequence?  If so, this is just like the original version, however it has addition and subtraction problems for the kids to solve.  They put their chips down on the answer.  I would also highly recommend getting the original sequence as a choice for math game station.  Remember that math is also under the realm of logic, Sequence is great for building logic skills.

Mastermind for KidsAnother game that fits under the logic category.  I usually make this one available during free choice day.

Think Fun Math DiceDice games are the easiest math games to set up.  Dice games are great because you can teach games that focus on basic fact skills.

Here are several images of other games that I have in my classroom. 

Head Full of Numbers Math Game  Learning Resources Money Bags A Coin Value Game

Mindware Flip 4 Strategic Game Sum Swamp Addition and Subtraction Game

Blokus Classics Game   Qwirkle Board Game


Lotus said...

I love your post about "guided math" and the different math games you shared. I teach math in small groups as well but I only started it last year and I always seek ways of improvement. The way you wrote how small groups work "in plain English" is very helpful! Thank you for sharing! :)

michaeledlavitch said...

Have you heard of Hooda Math yet? I noticed it wasn't on your site, and thought you should check us out. I am a Math Teacher who made a site for my students and it grew in popularity, 1 million students play our games a month. Check out our Math Games!

Anonymous said...

An interesting post! Another site that I find extremely useful for guided math is:

It is free and has a lot of printable math games and activities for K-5. Everything on there is aligned with the Common Core Standards.

Anonymous said...

I teach guided math in my 6th grade classroom. Battleship is a very popular game to practice coordinate grids.