Tag Archive | problem solving

Roll Up Some Math


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Dice – Part 1 (Math)

After two weeks of looking at playing cards, I decided to try one more cheap “board game” – dice!  Just like cards, dice can be used in so many ways to increase both math and literacy.  Here are some ideas on how to use dice with math.  Check back next week for some literacy ideas.

 

For all of these ideas, you can use regular six sided die, or specialized die with more or less sides.  Specialized die make it much easier when working with bigger numbers and older students.

 

1.)  Roll & Add (or Subtract, or Multiply)  – One of the easiest way to practice basic math facts is with a couple of dice.  I start my students out with a six sided die, and then move them up to a ten sided die after they have mastered most of their facts.  Students take two die, roll the die and then add (or subtract, or multiply – depending on the skill needed).  I let my students work with a partner when doing this, and they race against each other to see who can call out the correct answer first. 

2.)  Make a Number Bigger than This – For this activity, use multiple six sided or eight sided die.  Depending on how big of a number your Use Dice to Compare Numbersstudents can handle, each student will need one die for each place value place (ie. 4 die for a number with a thousand’s place).  Students will roll all of their dice.  Give students a number (either write it on a board, or have cards available for students to draw from if you want to put this into a center) and then challenge them to use the numbers they rolled to make a number larger than the number you have given them.  I generally give the students on “re-roll” if they don’t have any digits that will help them make a number bigger than the given number.

3.)  Skip Count on From Here – When practicing skip counting and multiples, an easy way is to give students one die (six sided or ten sided work best) and have them roll the number.  Students should then skip count to one hundred.  For example, if they roll a 2, they skip count to one hundred by twos.  I generally do this in small groups or partners, rather than put individual students on the spot.

4.)  Make a Word Problem – I love giving students a chance to make their own word problems, but they have a tendency to make work problems with numbers they will know, which can defeat the purpose.  Kids Make the Problem Solver FreeInstead, hand the student two (or three) die and let them roll up their numbers.  Different die makes this easy to differentiate – your struggling students can roll up numbers 1-6, while your extension group uses a 20 sided die.  Grab this free template from Google Docs to help guide students through creating their own problem solvers.

 

I hope some of these suggestions will help you use dice to teach math in a new and interesting way. Click HERE for more suggestions on how to use board games in the classroom.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Battleship Math


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

 

Battleship – Part 1 (Math)

Battleship is one of those two player games that can easily be played by 2 players or 2 teams.  When I use it in my classroom, I always start with 2 teams when they play with me and then get kids to play with just 2 players when they get to centers.  It’s not a bad idea to have 2 games of Battleship (or any other 2 player game) so that more kids can play at the same time on the centers level.  I will warn readers that this game is definitely more geared to an intermediate classroom (3-5).  I used it a lot with my 3rd graders, but haven’t had the opportunity with my 1st graders, although I have a group I will use this game with to teach strategy a little later in the year.

 

1. Coordinate Grids – With a built in coordinate grid, this game is an easy way to teach kids how to read given points on a grid, as well as how to find points on a grid.  You can use battleship in it’s standard play form in your guided math and then let kids play it centers as a practice.

 

2. Modeled Problem Solving – Many kids don’t understand when you say “think about it”, because their thinking processes are so different than the ones you want them to have.  Use Battleship as a way to do a “think aloud” and model the type of thinking you want them to do when they are problem solving.  I’ll tell my kids things like: “Okay, I know that that ship is not on A7 or A9, so I can be pretty sure it’s also not on A8.” or “I know that the only ship left to find is 5 pieces long, so I need to look in a place that has room for it, where do we see a space like that.”  This modeled problem solving thinking can carry over into word problems, real life problems, and so many other elements of math.

 

3. Probability – What a great way to look at that probability concept!  Battleship allows you to talk about odd’s in an oddly real life way.  First you can talk about the probability of getting a “hit” on your first shot.  What are the chances?  Then, you can talk about using the clues that are given to “increase your odds”. 

 

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Battleship in a new, interesting way in your classrooms.   Next week we’ll talk about how to use Battleship to work on literacy with your kids.  Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

Need some suggestions for other games to use when teaching Math?  Here’s a list of ten to try!

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rakishop62

Roll Up Math Skills with Yahtzee!


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom. In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills. So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom. Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Yahtzee – Part 1

One of my favorite games growing up was Yahtzee, and I was super excited when my oldest son was old enough to learn how to play it!  It can be such an educational game, and so, I thought it was the perfect game to feature as my second board game for Game Night Fridays!  (The first game was Chutes and Ladders, click here if you missed it!)  Here are four ways to use Yahtzee to teach math skills.  Check back next Friday to see my four ideas for how to use Yahtzee to teach literacy skills.

1. Standard Play – Yahtzee has so much math built into it, that simply playing the game with your class will work on math skills.  Not only can you work on strategy, problem solving and decision making, but you can work on addition, multiplication, comparing numbers and probability all simply playing Yahtzee by the rules provided in the game.

 

2. Dice Graphing – Rather than play with the whole Yahtzee score card, play simply with the upper section of the game card.  Have each player role just one time and mark how many of each die they roll.  Then, create a graph with the ready made table that the score card provides you.

 

3. Best Set – Rather than play with the whole Yahtzee score card, play simply with the 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind and Yahtzee sections.  Encourage students to try to get a 3 of a kind with a different number than their classmates.  After YahtzeeScoreCardeveryone has one 3 of a kind, one 4 of a kind and one Yahtzee, compare scores.  Discuss the fact that using 4 sixes gives you a much better score than using 4 ones.  Great time to compare addition and multiplication too!

 

4. Straight to Order – Rather than play with the whole score card, play simply with the small straight and the large straight.  Talk about the different ways to make a small straight.  Talk about ordering numbers and using the ordinal names of numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)

 

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Yahtzee in a new, interesting way in your classrooms. Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

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       rakishop

Introducing: Friday Game Night


I LOVE to play board games at home, but I also enjoying using them in my classroom.  In addition to encouraging cooperation, turn taking and a variety of other social skills, I find I can often use the games to work on math and literacy skills.  So, every Friday, I am going to post a Friday Game Night post, giving tips on how to use a particular board game in your classroom.  Here’s this week’s Friday Game Night Tip:

Chutes and Ladders – Part 1

Who doesn’t like Chutes and Ladders (also called Snakes and Ladders)?  It’s a classic game that is a part of most primary classroom and home game collections.  It’s also a great way to work on both math and literacy skills.  This week, I have a list of ideas for using this game to work on math skills.  Next week, I’ll continue my list with literacy skills.  So, how can we use Chutes and Ladders in the classroom?

1.  Standard Play – By simply playing Chutes and Ladders in it’s original format, you work on math number sense.  Although the game looks like a hundred’s chart, it does not start each ten over at the beginning of the row.  So, while children are playing, they must always be aware of what number is larger, in order to know which way to go.  This leads you into a great discussion of which number is larger and which number is smaller.

 

2.  Hundred’s Chart – While or after playing, compare the game board to a hundred’s chart.  See if students can figure out the difference between the two boards.  Then, have students rearrange the Chutes and Ladders board using post it notes, until they have a hundred’s chart.  Can they see the pattern they have now?

 

3.  Addition & Subtraction Facts – Not only can kids create an addition fact for each move (I’m on space 23 and I spun a 5, so 23 + 5  = 28.),  but they can create addition facts that go with each of the ladders and subtraction facts that go with each of the chutes.  Or, you can make these addition/subtraction facts ahead of them, write them on index cards and let the kids figure out which chute/ladder each fact goes with!

 

4.  Problem Solving – I love to have students write their own problem solving questions, and Chutes and Ladders is an easy way to facilitate this.  Have students write out their own word problem for one of the chutes or ladders.  Then, allow students to trade their word problem with a neighbor and solve!

 

I hope some of these suggestions will allow you to use Chutes and Ladders in a new, interesting way in your classrooms.  Keep playing games and watch your kids learn!

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Let the Kids Make the Problem


My students were having a bit of trouble understanding the difference between addition and subtraction.  We did a variety of activities to help them understand, including using manipulatives, pictures, and putting two equations with the same numbers, but different signs right next to each other (5+3=8  5-3=2).  However, the thing that worked the very best was to let them come up with their own word problems.  At first, they were just excited to be able to use each other’s names, but as they got to drawing, they really understood all of a sudden that in addition you have two separate groups, where as in subtraction you have one group and you are giving some away.  It’s also made my problem solving center run so much smoother!  Here’s what we did:

1st – We wrote an addition word problem using the names of our friends.  We also drew a picture to represent our word problem.

add1

 

2nd – On the back, we wrote the addition fact that would solve the word problem we created.

add2

 

3rd – We had each student’s page bound into a book and placed it on the “warm shelf” to be read over and over.

 

4th – Repeat Steps 1-3, with a subtraction fact.

sub1     sub2

 

5th – Had a whole class discussion about the difference between addition and subtraction.

 

Want to try this with your class – click on any of the pictures and get the pages for FREE from my Google Docs.

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Primary Problem Solving Center


psbirdsMy newest math center is working so well, I just had to tell you about it.  I have been feeling the need to build in some problem solving, but so many of my 1st graders are either non-readers or beginning readers, that I’m been scared to add in a complete problem solving center, like I would’ve used with my 3rd graders.  So, I started making these little problem solving cards, which are simple, and pictorial.  Kids pick four cards out of a bucket and glue them onto their problem solving paper.  Then, they work together psballoonsto solve the problems.  Here is a link to some that I uploaded to my TPT store for FREE – these are half addition and half subtraction.  I also made some that are specific to subtraction.  I use the problem solving sheet with these – but they could easily be glued into a spiral bound notebook or a math journal.  I have a math journal on my TPT store, but this group I have this year, isn’t quite ready for it.  Isn’t it strange how each group is so different? 

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