My Favorite Math Games (Really Activities)

I love to keep my students engaged and moving. I frequently use activities that I call games, but the students know they are not games.

SCOOT: This past week I was trying to come up with a way to review decimal operations with my 6th graders. Many of them not only have seem the concepts but have already mastered them. So a worksheet wasn’t going to do it this time around. When I stumbled upon Scoot online, I knew I had found a gem! Here are some directions for a Scoot activity. These directions are very clear, but are not the exact activity that I used. For my activity, I used a set of decimal operation task cards that I got for free here. I went through all of the problems in this set of cards (there were a TON) and picked out the ones that I wanted students to review.  I have 14 students in my class, so I picked 14 cards that had addition and subtraction and then for a second Scoot game I picked 14 cards that had multiplication and division.  I renumbered the cards that I picked 1 to 14, for each set. I made an answer sheet with 14 boxes on it, each numbered 1 to 14 where students could write down each problem and show their work. I placed one card at each desk in a pattern around the room. Each student had their own answer sheet. I went over the rotation/pattern with the students and set the timer for one minute. We started the activity and when the timer went off I yelled “SCOOT.” They immediately scurried to the next seat.  I set the timer for one minute again and they were off.  The students absolutely loved this activity and so did I!

Here is a video from YouTube of 3rd graders playing Scoot.

Highlights of Scoot:

  • A little time pressure is great.  It helps those students who are slowpokes to speed up a little bit but in a group setting where there is less at stake if they don’t finish. No one is depending on them, except themselves.
  • This is a great activity for all levels, as long as they students have all seen the content before. I varied the level of problems so there were a few that were more challenging.  This helped keep the more advanced students engaged.
  • I had some cheaters! My students can be competitive, even though this is NOT a competitive activity. These students would peek at the next card if they finished early.  Also some students did not wait for the timer to go off to move, even though they knew the rules.  To help nip this problem, I added a rule that once a problem was written down on their answer key they should turn the card over so no one can see it. It helped, but I think I need to make sure that the students just follow the rules. I think they can wait the remainder of a minute to get to the next card with patience.

All Things Algebra: This page has the best activities and games to review not only Algebraic topics but also middle and high school math. Look up your topic of choice and your most likely going to find activities such as: Mathlibs, Coloring, Task Cards, Scavenger Hunts, Rolling Review, Battleship, Partner, Relay Race, Matching and Cut & Paste Activities. (Each link will take you to a specific activity, but there are MANY more that you can see on the actual page.) I should own stock of this page because I have spent so much money there!

I also like the activities from Linsay Perro on Teachers Pay Teachers. Check out here.

Kagan Strategies: This is my new found love. I can’t believe it too me years to find Kagan Strategies.  Again these only feel like games, but aren’t games.  My favorite structures so far for math class are Quiz-Quiz-Trade, Sage & Scribe and Fan n’ Pick.

quiz quiz



Fan-N-Pick Directionsfan-n-pick board

For more information about Kagan structures I highly recommend the book 59 Kagan Structures.



One thought on “My Favorite Math Games (Really Activities)

  1. Pingback: Math Games! | I Speak Math

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s