Quick easy math review game

I’m sure you’ve all done things like this.  Previously we’ve rolled giant dice and added the numbers then run to the chalk number on the floor.

Now, we’re practicing counting for money (nickels, dimes, quarters) using a ball.

Just throw it in a circle and count whatever it is you’re practicing.  Here we’re counting quarters.  The kids much prefer to count pennies.

As a side note, this ball is actually from when I was teaching.  You’re supposed to solve the math problem that is closest to your right thumb.  Good for practicing left and right, and hand eye coordination as you’re throwing it around.  My second graders loved it.

I’ve got similar ones for elements of story.  Those ask all sorts of reading questions.  I need to get them out for my kids.

THE Math game for the family

003So, I started to write a post about going to a homeschool convention, but realized I didn’t have anything super helpful to say, and it was mainly going to be lots of hints of things to come.  I didn’t want to write that.

So (seriously I use that too much), Instead, I’ll just jump write in. 

001Here’s the premise, you’re going around the board in either direction to whatever square you want.  You get there by building equations from the tiles you have.  Your numbers can be positive, negative, or exponents (we took out the exponents), and you get operation tiles as well.

I spent a good hour or so talking to the guy there because I didn’t believe him that my 5 year old could play this.  He convinced me, and I bought it.

He was right.

She’s not a huge fan, but she doesn’t like games in general.  The boys who are fans.  LOVE it!

Your goal is to earn money by either landing on squares that give you money or by landing on a workout square where you do math problems (more on that in a second).  Princess worked her way around the board going in a negative direction almost the entire time.  The boys went positive, negative, all over.


When you land on a workout square you grab a card based on your ability.  My kids are all white belts.  That’s first/second grade math.  It goes all the way up through early high school with Algebra 1 and 2.

Our first game took about an hour to play, but this was also my kids first exposure to negative numbers, and they grasped the concept fairly quickly and were making up math problems like aces.

It’s on sale right now for $50 (yes that is a lot, but I think it’s totally worth it).  Considering most of the strategy games we buy cost about the same, and I’m seeing years worth of math practice in this game.  It’s worth it to me.

I LOVE this game (and I’ll have a post up about some of the other games I bought later).  I wanted to talk about this one first because I’m going to have a giveaway coming up soon for their computer game.
Go, look at it, try the online version of it (there’s an online version of the board game), and then discover how cool it is.

PS: I was not paid for this, I did not get a free copy, I bought it and loved it, so that tells you how much I like it.

Quick tip: Calendar time

Use double sided calendar cards (or just use single-sided ones, but double sided have more interest), and when it actually reaches that day turn it around.
Okay for whatever reason this has really helped my kids with keeping what day it is straight and they really like turning the card around.

I’ve tried adding in the days as we reach it and since we’re not good about doing calendar every day (how was I so good at it when teaching and not now?) it rather confuses them.  This is BRILLIANT!  If I do say so myself.

New York: Measuring the Statue of Liberty


Just like we did for whales, we measured out how big the statue of liberty was.  We measured several different parts of her using information I got from the Statue of Liberty information site.  It is fascinating to see how big she is. 



I wish I could say the kids were suitable impressed, but there were more interested at that particular instant in running around like mad men and trying their very best to see who could be the silliest.


I am sure this news totally shocks you.


So, for me this activity was spent with lots of, “No, look over here!  No really, if you pay attention we’ll get done very quickly.”  At which point I imagined all sorts of ways I could glue them to the floor.  Which probably would not have been a good idea.

Instead I’ll leave you with our printable:

Statue of Liberty New York(function() { var scribd = document.createElement(“script”); scribd.type = “text/javascript”; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = “http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js”; var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Math: What equals nine

I started rummaging through my old teaching stuff and found this great game:


It’s from this book.  Back when I was teaching over the summer I spent hours and hours coloring all sorts of games and used up so many markers.



Before playing the game I set them to figuring out all of the ways they could make nine using two addends.  I put out the nine, and they happily set to it.





Eventually they had a small handful of equations that added up to 9.  Or, the boys did.  Princess on the other hand, sat there insisting she wasn’t able to do it until I showed her how it was done.  She’s going to be one I have to figure out what to do.  She’s capable but second guesses herself way too often.


Eventually we got down to playing the game.  It’s quite simple, you take off two numbers that add up to 9 and go around until all of the numbers have been taken.  The person with the most numbers wins.  YEAH!


I’m trying to think of some other fun ones like this, any theme suggestions for making it?

Favorite Resource this week: Education Cubes

Favorite Resource This Week
Ages ago I won the chance to use Education Cubes, and I’ve mentioned it once or twice using them.  Well, we used them again a few weeks ago, and this is a great way to have fun and not totally forget what you learned this year.

1.  Write the material you want to cover all over your sidewalk using chalk.  We are reviewing simple addition and sight words.

2.  Everybody roll a different die (I had to make them change colors, otherwise each kid would review the same six things).  Than try to be the first one to your answer.

Repeat over and over and over again!


Back when I first wrote this post I did it partially to show off the Education cubes, and then I forgot to put in the link to the site for them.  My brain is dead sometimes.

Education Cubes Show & Tell

Math monday: Green Eggs and Ham

learning laboratory at mama smiles

Interesting fact I learned as I researched Massachusetts, not only does it have a state children’s book, it also has a state children’s author: Dr. Seuss.


I had found an interesting book about Dr. Seuss, but it was way too long to hold everyone’s interest.  When I read it to my kids I, we divided it into two nights reading.  But, for everyone getting together I wanted some kind of activity, and everything I could think of was either too involved or too simple for the entire group.



After some thinking, I remembered that “Green Eggs and Ham” had been written as a challenge to write a book using only 50 words.  So, I picked 10 random words from the book and we graphed 20 pages of it.





What intrigued me was watching the two teams (boys against girls) defend their answers.  There was one instance for each team where someone had the wrong number.  It was great for my kids to see everyone defend and come up with their answers.


All in all, a great exercise for everyone.


I’ll try and get the printable I made up, it’s just a simple table, but right now Scribd is being annoying.

Math Monday: using the aids available


I love this because Princess is remembering we have a 100s chart to help her figure out the answers.


She’s continuing to use the Preschool Packs over at Musings of Me to work on her counting about 10.  So, she takes her card over to the 100s chart and looks to see what the missing number is.


It’s such a nice simple way for her to work on her math.  I’m actually thinking of making each of my kids an office like I had for my students when I was teaching after listening to a talk about teaching distractable children.  Yes, yes that would be mine.  Mine are very distractable, not to the insane level of the kids she was talking about, but mine don’t concentrate super well.


If you want our hundreds chart, which is just printed on cardstock and cut out in rows.  Here’s the link:

hundreds chart.

Counting by 2s

Counting by 5s

Counting by 10s

I alternate which one I currently have in there and that’s the skill we work on each morning for counting (we count to 100 every morning, but which skip counting we do).

Math Box: Counting practice


Do your kids love Easter egg hunts?  Or just finding things?


Well, mine love it.  As soon as they had a valid excuse they got out the “Jesus Eggs” (also known as Resurrection Eggs, if you’re not in my family).



So, our math on Friday was to find the eggs and then solve the two different types of math problems:

1.  Putting the number in it’s place and gluing it down, which Superman is doing there.


2. Creating a math problem from the jelly beans in the egg.


Not too surprisingly the second one was wildly popular, but the first one was too.  So, now I need to remember to do the silly easy things more often, because it’s a great confidence booster for the boys and review of an easy skill, and good practice for the girl.

Math printable was found here.  She’s got great units for almost every holiday.

Math Monday: addition as a game

We’ve discovered the best way to practice Math Facts, here’s how:


0051.  Join Education Cubes (totally worth it).  Print off the numbers and the addition files.  For added fun also print off the alphabet movement cards.


2.  Roll your first math problem.




3.  Head over to the table and write your problem and the answer with a dry erase marker.


After it’s confirmed correct erase it with your hand.  Very important, your hand, not your head, your sleeve, your fill in whatever blank you want.

4.  As congratulations for getting your problem right choose one of the alphabet movement dice to roll and act out.


And voila, you have my second most popular math lesson to date.  The most of course being this one (of course it’s candy).