I love playing games so creating math fluency games was a no-brainer for my classroom.
So what is math fluency?
I used to think math fluency was memorization. Insert mental image of endless flashcards with drill and kill type activities. Yes, we want students to have fact recall, but it is more than just that. Now I know I want to teach for automaticity. What does that mean? It means I want students to find and use an efficient strategy by using the known to find out the unknown… WHAT on EARTH are you talking about DEEDEE!!! I can hear you screaming at me right now!
Let’s look at this problem [4-3]. I want students to take the known, “Well, if I had 4 and I took 4 away, I would have nothing left. So if I took one less than 4, it would leave me with one.” NOTE: Students might actually think this strategy visually, especially if they have been using math journals all year long.
At first, when students are given a problem like 4-3 I don’t want students to memorize the facts, I want them to have useful strategies. Are you with me? These are strategies I have taught during math workshop or during our small group math time. So now they need to practice. I want to create a ton of opportunities for them to employ these strategies. Over time, these strategies become automatic and happen in the background. BUT you have to give students LOTS of opportunities to use them.
Games to the rescue!
Whenever I make a game for my classroom, I don’t just make one version. I made a BUNCH of versions. Here is why:
- I don’t want to teach new games all year long. I don’t have the time. When my students are playing games, I am meeting with students. I can not be two places at once. I can not be interrupted. I do not have a team of adults in my room to keep students independent… it is just ME! SO the game has to stay the same. The. End!
- BUT playing the same game over and over, all year long is a snooze-fest. Your students will get board. Solution: new theme. New clipart=A BRAND NEW GAME!!!. “Yes, sunshine! It is a new game!” (psst… it is the same exact game)!
Teach it once… play it all year!
We start in September with the Apple Day Math Fluency Game. In September, I don’t even use the equation cards. Just numerals, number words, subitizing cards, and ten frames.
Then at Halloween time, we have a “brand new game.”
Naturally, Thanksgiving follows right behind with this “brand new game.”
Then shortly after Thanksgiving, we have Christmas Themed Baking Cookies. Time for a “brand new game.”
In January, we unveiled our Winter version of this “brand new game.”
Don’t forget SPRING!
How about Summer? NOTE: This is your free file and you can get it at the end of this post.
This game stays fun and exciting all year long because we change up the theme. Students get multiple opportunities to practice those strategies that lead to fluency. AND they are having fun! WIN!
You can see all of the math fluency games by clicking HERE.
You can see the math fluency BUNDLE by clicking HERE.