Monday, September 21, 2009

NCTM Number Sense Games

This NCTM Illuminations online game helps students develop number sense as they combine 5 different numbers with any of the 4 operations (+ - X /) to produce the target number. This online adaptation of the Krypto game is a great site for student practice of basic facts. Consider pairing students to work together and strategize solutions. Visit Mathwire's What's New? page to download a template to use with students who are not at the computer.

Add this game to your Game Day repertoire and send home the link to parents so that students can practice at home as well.

Create a free account on this site to play the games: Square Off, Factor Dazzle, Fraction Feud, Times Square or Slam Ball. This is a great way to practice multiplication and division facts. Two of my favorites are Factor Dazzle and Times Square.

In Factor Dazzle (Factor Game), students must correctly identify all of the factors of a number to gain points. But beware: the student chooses the number but the computer gets points for the sum of all the factors still available on the game board. Then the computer chooses a number and the student must identify all the factors still left on the game board. The player with the most points wins the game so students learn to choose very carefully and rehearse several options in the search for the best choice that yields the most points for them while giving their opponent the fewest points.

In Times Square (Product Game), students change one of the two given factors to create a new product on the game board. Four squares in a row wins the game. Students try to extend their own patterns while blocking their opponent. Once again, students must choose a factor carefully so that they don't give their opponent the winning edge.

The Calculation Nation site offers two different modes of play: players may challenge themselves by playing against the computer or they may challenge others by choosing another online player from a menu of available players. In fact, students are encouraged to try to play someone from each of the 50 states and the site keeps a record on a US map for students to view.

Once again, add this valuable free site to your classroom Game Day resources. Be sure to send this URL home to parents so that students may play at home as well. Students may easily challenge fellow students or their parents in the multi-user format. The challenge others option is an incredible format for tech-savvy kids!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Using Who Has? Decks to Develop Fact Fluency

Once students have developed conceptual understanding of the basic operations they need to develop fluency with the facts. One quick way to include daily practice and motivate students to master these basic facts is through the use of the Who Has? card decks. These decks can be created for virtually any topic and frequent use as both a whole class practice or as a center activity for partners or small groups will provide facts practice in a highly-motivating format.

Each deck has 24-30 cards that are distributed to students. Give out the extra to student volunteers or to better students who are able to watch two cards at a time. Then select a student to start the round. Alternatively, star one of the cards to be the beginning card. The first student reads his/her card and each student examines his/her card to see if he/she has the answer to that problem. The student who has the answer on his/her card, reads the answer, then reads the next question from the card. Play continues until the question is answered once again by the student who started the round.

I have found this to be the best way to practice basic facts. Students are so excited to play the game, that they forget they are actually learning. The underlying beauty of this game is that each student practices the 30 facts as the game progresses because he/she is checking both his/her card and the accuracy of other students. This activity provides basic fact practice without having to copy worksheets and students are more highly motivated by the Who Has? game.

Teachers may use these decks in several ways: class play, small group play, partner play or send them home for fact practice with parents. Be sure to visit Mathwire's Who Has? Activities page to read classroom management suggestions for implementing this fun activity and to download Who Has? decks.

The Mathwire Who Has? collection is formatted to print on 2 inch by 4 inch labels which may then be affixed to index cards to create the deck. Using different colored index cards for each deck also helps with the classroom management system. Teachers may consider creating multiple copies of each deck to keep in the math center, send home with students, and use as class decks. Each PDF download also includes a page with the complete deck listed for teacher convenience.

Who Has? Decks are an invaluable tool in any classroom. Visit Mathwire Who Has? Activities to download any of these decks for use in your classroom:

  • Multiplication Facts
  • Multiplication Facts (Spanish version)
  • Multiplication Facts, Decks B-D
  • Addition Facts
  • Doubles Facts
  • More or Less Facts
  • Fractions
  • Base Ten
  • Place Value
  • Coins
  • Algebra Variable Expressions
  • Geometry