3 Simple Ideas for Using Math Games In the Classroom

Want to use fun math games in your class but don’t know where to start? Here are 3 super simple ways to use math games in the classroom with game ideas and helpful tips.

How can you increase student engagement and add some fun to your math classroom? Math games are the perfect fit when it comes to adding excitement for your math students. Math board games, like these Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities board games, are always a student favorite! Here are three creative ways to use math games with your students.

3 Simple Ways to Use Math Games in the Classroom:

  1. Teacher vs. Class Games

Students LOVE to try to beat the teacher. Playing a math game as a teacher vs. class game is a great way to introduce and teach the rules to a new game. It is also the easiest to prep!

In this setup, you play as one player and the class plays as a second player. It provides a great opportunity for students to see how you are completing problems as you take your turn in front of the class. When the class is taking a turn, give students a few minutes to try the problem before going over it together as a class.

I typically give them credit for the problem if at least one student gets it correct, which gives students a pretty low risk chance to practice that type of problem.

  1. Play in Partners or Small Groups

Once students are familiar with how a particular game works, playing games in small groups or partners is a lot of fun!

Divide students into partners or small groups. Each group will need a copy of the game, any cards, pieces, etc, so it does take a little more prep up front. Give students time to play the game with their small group!

*Pro Tip: Depending on the specific game, it might make sense to have all students take their turn at the same time. That way, it cuts down on idle time where students are waiting for others to finish their turn.

Small Group Game Expectations:

If it is your first time using math games, you may also want to go over expectations.Be sure you are clear about what’s expected of students before beginning.

Some good items to review:

  • Noise level expectations
  • How to clean up when they are finished
  • What to do if their group finishes early

If you are worried about groups not having enough time to finish, you may also want to set a timer. Once the timer goes off, whichever player is winning at the time wins the game!

  1. Play Games as a Math Center

If you run a math workshop structure (or are interested in trying it!), you can easily incorporate math games as one of the math centers.

Simply have copies of the game ready to go for that center. Depending on how big your groups are and the specific game, they could play as one group or split into a couple of smaller groups or partners.

If you are interested in learning more about how to structure math workshop, be sure to check out the Math Workshop page on my site.

What Games Can You Use?

To get you started with math games, I have several free Connect Four games available in my TpT store.

Depending on the grade you teach, you can try out this free game for 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade math. Or just try them all!

Each game includes 6 game boards and 16 problem cards. Each student in a group picks a game board. The group flips over a problem card and they each work to solve the problem. Once finished, each student covers that answer on their game board. The first player to connect four of their spaces in a row wins!

I have spent years creating math games for 5th-8th grade math. If you are interested in finding more options for your specific grade level, this Middle School Math Games to Use in Your Classroom post has you covered!

Looking for Even More Math Game Ideas? Check Out More Game Ideas Below:

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