My daughter is only eleven, but I’m afraid I’ve ruined her chance of getting into college because she is so far behind in math. We’ve tried tutors, but she still has trouble, and standardized testing puts her three years below grade level. She was a late reader, too, so maybe school just isn’t her thing. What else can I do?
Standardized tests are not placement tests. They cannot tell you at what level your daughter should be studying. They aren’t designed that way. The “placement” they give is vague and general, not indicative of her grade level but rather a way of comparing her performance on that particular test with the performance of other students.
Michael and Nash have been creating and posting new math games with astonishing regularity throughout the pandemic. Their YouTube channel is a great resource for parents who want to play math with elementary-age children.
Today’s entry: Closest to Ten, a quick game for addition and subtraction fluency with a tiny bit of multiplication potential.
And here’s one of my favorites for older players: Factor Triangles, a card game for 2-digit multiplication.
Check out their channel, and have fun playing math with your kids!
The Substitution Game features low-floor, high-ceiling cooperative play that works with any age (or with a mixed-age group) — and you can use it while distance learning, too. It’s great for building algebraic thinking.
Excerpted from my upcoming book, Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates.
The Substitution Game
Math Concepts: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, order of operations, integers, fractions, equivalence and substitution.
Players: any number (a cooperative game).
Equipment: whiteboard and markers (preferred) or pencil and paper to share. Calculator optional.
Some of the booklets include dot grid pages for student journaling.
I love dot grid pages for writing because I can start a line anywhere on the page, and the dots help me keep things in line. (They’re also great for doodling.)
As students wrestle their thoughts into shape and create explanations, they do the same sort of work that mathematicians do every day. It’s difficult for children (or anyone) to pin down a thought and put it into words. But it’s great practice for life.
UPDATE: The Kickstarter deals have ended, but my playful math books are still available through your favorite online store or by special order at your local bookshop. (Except for the Prealgebra & Geometry Games book, scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my email list to get the latest news.)
I believe this was the first math game I ever invented. Of course, ideas are common currency, so I’m sure other math teachers thought of it before I did. But to me, it was original.
I’ve blogged about the game before, but here’s the updated version as it appears in my new book Prealgebra & Geometry: Math Games for Middle School — scheduled for publication in early 2021. Sign up for my newsletter to get updates.
Math Concepts: integer addition, absolute value.
Players: two or more.
Equipment: playing cards (two decks may be needed for a large group).
The all-time most-visited page on this site is my post about Math War: The Game That Is Worth 1,000 Worksheets. It’s easy to adapt to almost any math topic, simple to learn, and quick to play. My homeschool co-op students love it.
But Math War isn’t just for elementary kids. Several teachers have shared special card decks to help middle and high school students practice math by playing games.
Take a look at the links below for algebra, geometry, and trig games. And try the Math War Trumps variation at the end of the post to boost your children’s strategic-thinking potential.
Here is a math problem in honor of one of our family’s favorite movies…
Han Solo was doing much-needed maintenance on the Millennium Falcon. He spent 3/5 of his money upgrading the hyperspace motivator. He spent 3/4 of the remainder to install a new blaster cannon. If he spent 450 credits altogether, how much money did he have left?
Stop and think about how you would solve it before reading further.