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5 Fun Ways to Kickstart Math at the Beginning of the Year

It’s time to start another year of math but where do you begin? Before diving straight into the curriculum, it’s essential to set the stage for learning so that your lessons are effective. I like to start the year with math review to better gauge where my students are at.

And why not make math review fun and engaging? In this blog post, we’ll explore 5 ways to kickstart math for the year and get your students excited about it from day one. 

Play Math Review Games

This is my favorite way to kickstart math for the year. It helps to set the tone that math can be fun.

Play games that incorporate math skills the kids should know coming into the grade level. So if you teach 3rd grade, play games that review 2nd-grade math.

If you play games throughout the year, use the first math games to have kids practice how to communicate throughout the game and how to be a good sport.

A fun game to play is a scavenger hunt breakout type of game where kids solve problems as they hunt for a code that allows them to break out of math class. 

This is a great way to involve movement as well as assess how kids interact and behave during this type of activity.

If your class isn’t ready for a movement type of activity at the beginning of the year, they can do it digitally by solving the same problems using Google Forms. 

kickstart math 2nd grade math bingo game with card

Or play a game like bingo where kids stay in a spot for the majority of the game. I like using these bingo games that aren’t like your typical bingo games.

The object of the game is to get 5 in a row. But watch out! Because at any moment, a card might say to pull a counter from the board.

The kids get really into these games and beg to play them all year.

Want to try a FREE multiplication facts bingo game? Sign up below and I’ll send it to your inbox!

Introduction to Manipulatives

If your students will be using any type of manipulatives this year, let them explore the different kinds.

Lay out things like fraction bars, counters, unisex cubes and let kids explore with them.

There doesn’t have to be a math objective to their exploration. Just let them play with them and get excited about using them.

You’ll be able to teach them the correct way to use them when it comes time to use one for a lesson.

Math Books

I always try to incorporate literacy into my math block and reading math-themed books is a great way to do that.

One of my favorite books to kickstart math for the year is 7 Ate 9. 

It’s a funny book about the number 6 knowing that 7 is always after him and hearing that 7 ate 9. So he’s enlisted some help to figure out if he’s in danger.

There’s no math being learned from the book, but it sure does make for a good time and that’s our goal at the beginning of the year.

Real-World Math Problems

Math is all around us and you can show students that by showing them how math is used in our everyday lives.

Create word problems about shopping discounts or measuring ingredients for a recipe. 

Have students create the problems with you and use their names as part of the word problems. Kids love this!

Using real-world problems helps make math relatable to kids and it’s a great way to show them that math is a necessary skill. (Even with phones and calculators at our fingertips.)

Math Technology

If your students will be using technology for math this year, have them explore how to use any tools they’ll need to learn.

If they’ll be using things like Google Slides or Google Forms, have them practice how to navigate an activity or game.

Have them solve problems with skills they’ll be learning this year so you can get an idea of where everyone is at.

You can also have them play around with online manipulatives like the ones on this site: Didax Virtual Manipulatives

As they play around you can teach them how to be a digital citizen and how to act when they’re online.

Kicking off math in a fun way creates an engaging learning environment that sets our students up for a successful year of math.


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