This is a question we ask ourselves quite frequently. In order to keep our kids learning, we need to keep them engaged and motivated. There are many ways we can do this, but one thing I’ve learned is kids love to play games! So why not incorporate this into our classrooms? These can be easily incorporated into small group math centers.
Place value can be really hard to understand. A great game I found to help with this is a game called “Place Value Roll.” This game can easily be created with little materials: paper and a glue stick! The “dice” have pictures of Base 10 blocks on them. You roll the “dice” and write down how many tens and ones you have. You can make it a game by putting students into partner groups and whoever gets the higher number wins that round and they circle the highest number. Whoever has the most at the end of the activity wins! This is a very simple activity, but can help to reinforce the idea of place value into younger students.
I found the idea for this game from a blog: http://missgiraffesclass.blogspot.com/2014/08/place-value-moving-and-new-blog-design.html.
Another game I found just requires dice and paper. It can be used to practice addition or subtraction. One player rolls the two dice and either adds the two numbers or subtracts them and then places a marker on the sum or difference on their sheet. The first player to get four in a row wins! This game can be laminated and put into work stations to be used over and over again!
I also found this idea from a blog: http://luckytobeinfirst.com/2014/10/math-mania.html.
I think this next game is the most versatile, along with the best one to utilize across many subjects. You would tailor what you put on the popsicle sticks to the subject you are using the game for. It would work best in small groups. It’s called “Kaboom!” For this activity, the main thing you need are popsicle sticks, manipulatives, markers or paper (depending on what your learning target is) and some sort of cup to put them in. Some of the popsicle sticks will say “Kaboom” on them, the others will have a math problem on them. Each student takes a turn pulling out a popsicle stick, they give the answer to the problem and if they get it right, they keep the popsicle stick, if they get it incorrect, they put it back in the cup. When they get a Kaboom popsicle stick, they have to put all of their popsicle sticks back. This game helps to give students practice with different math skills while promoting team work and cooperation.
I found this game on another teacher’s blog: http://www.starrspangledplanner.com/kaboom-possibly-best-center-game-ever/.
I hope your students enjoy these games!