1. Estimation Station.......... One
of the easiest ways to do this is to have a weekly estimation
jar. Every week you could change the contents of the
jar or the size of the jar. Sometimes put large objects
and sometimes small. Let children examine the jar and
write their estimations. You can go further by having
them write a paragraph about "how" they got
their guess. At the end of the week count the objects
together or have the last center count them. Teach them
some estimating skills. Also at the estimation station
you can have them estimate the capacity of a container.Have
a container and the material (clothespins). Have then
make a prediction of how many and then actually fill
the jar to check their predictions. Small manipulatives
could be used for this and you could change the size
of the container weekly.
2. I have an estimation and Venn diagram
center which is changed every day. I found one week
was too long, and if you do a "theme" for
the estimation it can last 5 days (e.g. estimating the
plastic small teddy bears... changes the size of container
over 5 days). You can also ask questions like :"Yesterday
the jar was full of plastic teddy bears. Today it is
half full of teddy bears. How many teddy bears are in
the half full jar?" I always write the questions
this way like word problems. They write their estimate
on a sheet, circle it and write their names next to
it. The child with the closest estimate wins a prize.
We always count the objects together and I use this
as an opportunity of demonstrating division, multiplication
etc. Some days I even ask them to write their estimations
in their math notebooks and explain how they got their
answer using words, numbers and pictures.
3. The Venn Diagrams can also be changed every day
and then when you've got enough of them they can be
placed at a Graphing center and children can each choose
one Venn diagram to graph on their own. Venn Diagrams
can also be made into a book and sent home each night
with a different child. Most parents haven't a clue
what a Venn diagram is. You can have a couple of incomplete
venn's for parents to sign at the back of the book.
Venn Diagram results can also be reported in the class
P. S. Strongly recommend new primary teachers try this
starting the first day. Just set the center up at a
small table. You can cover a lot without having to do
a lot of preparation or direct teaching.
4. Venn Diagrams - any easy way to make a versatile
and portable Venn Diagram is to use air hose tubes from
aquariums. The tubes are really cheap and you can buy
connectors for them as cheaply. Make two circles using
the tubes and you can overlap the circles and place
the items in the appropriate place. These can be labeled
with 3x5 cards. You can also have a group make a Venn
diagram ( 2nd grade) and leave off the labels. Have
other students look at the diagram and try to guess
how it has been sorted.
5. I do a Venn diagram almost everyday as a warm-up
when they come in. I have their names laminated with
a magnet on the back and place on their lockers. I use
the cute patterns you see on note pads that go with
my class theme (ocean life, teddy bears, hockey pucks...)
I write a question of the day on the board and they
put their name either inside or outside the circle (yes/no)
to answer the question.This is a spring board for many
math ideas and comparisons. My circle is a hoola hoop
that I place on a shower hook and magnet man on my magnetic
chalkboard (lucky me!)As the year goes on I add another
hoola hoop for the Venn diagram. I was asked to get
to three circles this year for first grade, but it wasn't
happening. I have friends who say it works great with
2-5...it just confused the kids and me. No math major
6. Found this in an old book:
For addition problems with regrouping
Cut an egg carton in half:
Open it, on the side that is the top write a problem
On the side where the eggs would be, students use chips
to represent each number...So 2 chips in on egg section,
5 chips in the egg section next to it
then underneath, 4 chips, then 6 chips.
Students use chips in the sections to solve problem
Tell them the rule, if you have ten you trade...
You could also, on the egg section write a + sign and
draw a line to represent where the answer goes.
7.Another center could be patterning. There are many
activities that could be done with pattern blocks. Another
source for centers is Box It or Bag It.
8. I've used Math Their Way for seven years and love
it! After attending the first workshop,I felt I just
had to have all the suggestions in place when school
started and just about did myself in. My advice is to
get the book, look it over, and then do your own thing!
Several of our staff bought note pads (Carson Dellosa)
and shared with each other so we all had approximately
ten sets of work mats and then added our own ideas for
manipulatives. For instance, with a crayon box workjob
I added red and yellow straws cut into pieces (I got
straws from Sonic for free), with a dog note pad I used
small bone treats, with the apple tree note pad I used
lima beans--one side spray painted red and the other
side painted pink, and another one was Ariel (The Little
Mermaid) note pad and I used a necklace of seashells(cut-apart)
from a good will store for manipulatives. My "work
jobs" are not as fancy as those in the book, but
my kids love them. I will add more, if anyone wants
them. I have forty-five work jobs in my classroom and
I'd love to share them!
9. You could have a math literacy center that include
literature and laminated activity cards. I'm thinking
mostly of Marilyn Burns literature collections, there's
K-3 and 4-6.
10. Another great resource for math center ideas for
K-1 is the Math In My World book put out, I think, by
Creative Teaching Press. It is divided into 5 sections:
All About Me, Nature, Playground, Food & Nutrition,
and something else, it might be Families. It also includes
ideas on how to involve parents in each theme.
11. Since I teach first grade my all my centers would
not be applicable, but the following might help and
could be adapted:
1. Beat the calculator(credit to Chicago Math)
Materials: deck of math facts to be studied, calculator
Students work in pairs, one student uses the calculator,
the other student uses their brain--turn over a card
with math fact--the first to give the correct answer
keeps the card--the winner is the student with the most
cards--second game reverse roles.
2. Problem solving: a problem is posed/could be written
note cards/or posted--children solve problem and using
large drawing paper illustrate how the solved the
problem--procedure can be shared
3. Multiplication (or in my case addition and subtraction)
bingo--make your own cards or purchase game
4. Teacher Created Materials has a set of resources
Science in a Bag, Math in a Bag etc. These were written
with the intention of being homework/bring back to school
and use--ideas, they can be adapted to the classroom
and become center type activities--I have not done this
yet--one of my goals for this year
5. tangram puzzles
12. Here is a center that my students enjoyed. I bought
some wooden dowels. I had someone cut them in different
lengths. I labeled each one A,B,C,..etc.The task was
estimating. The students picked a dowel,estimated how
long it was,measured it then looked at the letter and
used the answer key to check their answer.The measurement
used was inches. Another center is graphing.When we
did it as a class,we used m&m,skittles or some other
edibles.In the center, you can use different color buttons,different
kinds of beans or different shape pasta.The students
pick a container ,group the items then use graph paper
to draw a graph to represent the items.What I like about
this center is that it can accommodate several students
at the same time all drawing each their own graphs in
their group.Of course some students prefer working on
their own graph. The drawing can be checked in a second
and problems noted for small group reteaching later.
13. One other activity that I use is to make measurement
boxes. I put several things in a shoe box. The student
measure the objects and records the answer. I have the
answers in the lid of the box. I show the students how
to open the box, put the lid under the box and then
measure. Another idea is to find petri dishes (the kind
that the science teacher at the high school might have)
that are divided into two sections. I have students
put in beans of the number that we are working on and
shake the dish and then write the equation. For example
if we are working on 9, they would put in nine beans,
shake and record 5+4=9, because there will be 4 beans
on one side and 5 on the other, shake and record again.
These dishes are great because they can be put on the
14. I just thought of another idea that I do. When
I introduce "doubles", I have cloth bags with
the following objects: a car, plastic insect, plastic
spider, a picture of a hand, an egg carton, a calendar
page, a box of 16 crayons, and a picture of a semi truck.
Students reach into the bag and record a double, for
example if they pick a car, they record 2+2=4, because
there are 2 wheels on each side. The insect is 3+3 because
of the legs etc. They love to work with the bags and
will record answers over and over.
15. There is a new Math program out called Quest 2000.
It has excellent ideas and they refer to their math
centers as tubbing. They start with a whole class lesson
and then reinforce math skills through 6 to 8 tubs.
The ideas are amazing and the students love to get into
17. Math Games---Commercial games such as Yahtzee,
dominoes, chess, and bingo develop math and logic skills.
18. Money Activities: Children can sort, identify and
graph coins. They can count by ones (pennies), fives
(nickels), and tens (dimes). A set of money stamps is
great for recording work. Using the stamp students can
create money rebus stories.
19. Dollar Activities-There are 293 ways to change
a dollar bill. Let the students use the money stamps
to stamp out the different ways on butcher paper.
20. Set up a toy store or mini grocery store.
21. Graph of the day is a great center to have at a
math center. Examples are:
Pets You Have
Letters in Your Name
Let the children decide on some graphs.
22. Fractions-- Have manipulatives to explore fractions
as equal parts of a whole. Provide paper shapes and
graph paper to fold and cut. Have things like coins,
buttons, crayons, counters for finding equal parts of
23. Measurement-Have students use measuring cups to
measure rice to fill containers ½, ¼,
1/3 full. Measuring spoons can also be used to explore
24. Math in a Bag-Lunch bags can be used to put different
math activities in. These are especially useful if you
have games with many pieces. Students pour out the activity
and then place it back in the bag when complete.
25. Math Geo Safari-- Expense here, but can be used
for individualizing skills and fast practice.