Does anyone use math centers in their third grade classroom? I would like to incorporate centers into my math time next year. Please share what makes them work for you.

I use Work Stations daily and incorporate a math station.

Then on occasions, I will pull out all of my math station manipulatives and games and we will have a review day during our math block.

Here are some of the activities that I have my students do:

Dice: (partners) "Race to 100" -- one student rolls two dice and then adds those numbers together writing the answer on a piece of paper, then the partner does the same thing, then partner 1 repeats and then adds the numbers to the last answer written down, play repeats back and forth, the first to 100 (can't go over, so once students reach a certain point they can't write anything down until they have a sum that will = exactly 100) wins!; "Race to 0" -- same as above but students start off w/ 100 written on the paper & then add the two dice but subtract that from 100, the first to 0 wins!; You can also do the same w/ multiplication "Race to 1,000"; Double digit multiplication -- partners each roll 2 dice and use those digits to make a 2-digit #, then the partners multiply their 2-digit number by their partners 2-digit number (when first teaching this concept, I give my students a calculator to check their answers)

Deck of Playing Cards: "War" (2 or 3 players) students shuffle and deal the cards (splitting the deck so that they have equal # of cards) (K,Q,J each = 10, A = 1) each player flips over two cards, multiplies(or adds) their cards together, player w/ highest product (or sum) wins all cards, continue until one player has collected all of the cards, if two students have the same answer then they have a "war" by flipping over two more cards and the player w/ the higest new answer collects ALL of the cards involved in the battle

Purchased Games: Uno, Snap It Up!, Yahtzee, Tic-Tac-Tock, Dino Tracks, and there are a few others that I can't think of right now (basically, any game you have or can find that incorporates some sort of math skill)

Math Bingo (if you don't have any math bingo games, make your own for any math skill using Word -- I made one for each of these areas Vocabular, Geometry, Fractions, Measurement)

Dry Erase Boards: Each partner has a small dry erase board, marker, and eraser, partners take turns making up a problem (you determine the skill you want them to practice: subtracting across zeros, 3 digit by 3 digit addition, multiplication, etc.) and one solves it on their own board and the partner who made up the problem checks the answer by using the inverse

Tangrams are great to use -- You provide designs/patterns and the students use the tangram cards to create the design

Geometry -- Create various geometric cards w/ shapes or patterns, students use toothpicks or craft sticks to make the shape or pattern

Memory -- I have made a variety of memory games w/ math skills (vocab, geometry, measurement, multiplication, addition, subtraction, division, etc.)

Teach4TX,
Thanks for your ideas with math work stations. How do you manage your stations? Does a group of students visit one station a day or do they rotate? How many stations do you have going a day and for how long? Thanks for the great math ideas.

I have 10 stations set up in my classroom: Math, Independent Reading, Buddy Reading, Poetry, Writing, Word Wizard (vocab & phonics skills), Map Skills, Computer, Spelling, and teacher/student Work Station (this is where I meet w/ a group to do Lit. Circles, Guided Reading, Math mini lessons/review, etc.). I occasionally trade one of these stations out for Listening or Overhead stations.

I have a medium sized dry erase board in which I separate into 9 areas. I label each area on the board w/ a station label (leave off the Teacher station). Then under each station title, I write an "M" (for materials) and "A" (for activity). I change this each Monday. On this board I write any materials students will need for the station and what activity I want them to do at the station (for some stations I simply write "Free choice" which means they choose something from the station's "I Can" list). I vary up the assigned activities and when they use their Free Choice. (I do occasionally require a skills review sheet for a particular station, but I really try to refrain from using worksheets at stations. I want it to be more authentic learning.) (You can go to my classroom website http://www.mrsaprilriley.com/index.html and click on "Work Stations" from the home page to see my "I Can" lists. Also, go to "Teacher Resources" for other sites about stations.)

Starting on Monday's, I post (using a smal pocket chart) station partners (I only have 2 students per station; I have found that there are usually fewer behavior problems when students only have one other person to work with.) and then assign each pair their first station for the day. After our first station, students rotate clockwise to the next station.

Students go to 2 stations per day and spend approximately 20-25 minutes per station. I have a crate/container w/ numbered hanging files for students to turn in any assignments or to store their station materials (like spelling list, Weekly Reader magazine, etc.). I clean this out on Friday and occasionally take grades from the completed products.

1. With me, working on our current skill
2. With my assistant working on a previous skill (review)
3. A math game related to the current skill, or Mtn. Math (I bought Scholastic Math Centers - pre-made skills centers that are fun for the kids to play. I choose the center that matches our current skill and go from there)
4. Independent Work
5. Computer Math game related to current skill - I only have 3 computers with currently 4 students in a group - they take turns, and it has worked out really well. I use games that our school has purchased, as well as Internet games.

We spend approximately 10-15 mins per center. I only do this one day a week. It works out really well. Next year, I think I will do it 2 days per week. The kids absolutely love it, and do a great job at each center.

For the grouping, I set up 5 groups at the beginning of the year, and have kept them the same. Doing this has made transitions very easy. They know the routine, and it has worked well.

Hi, I just finshed using math centers this year and this is what worked for me in second grade. I had 4 centers and students rotated to 2 centers one week and 2 the following week. I always posted their groups on the board and thier role in the group. Each center had written directions.
I always had one independent center: blocks building a community, creating the tallest structure, puzzles.
I had one game center( addition subtraction bingo, totally tut, sequence, chips, skapes)
Two adult directed centers usually introducing a new concept wit manipuatives
Each center took 30 minutes with 5 minutes to clean up.
At the end of the year, I started giving the students more responsiblity in the centers and it worked out really well.

I am going to use math centers this year. My problem, in the past, has been that it was hard to have the centers in 3rd & 4th be rigorous enough to allow time out of our day be spent in them. (in my humble opinion)

Well, I decided there were 4 areas where all my students could use a review or more practice. I am having my first 20 minutes of math M-Th as center time. I plan on having these 4 centers each week. The students will visit 4 centers during the week.

I believe the time exploring is important, but I also feel the material must be reviewed with the class (not just checked). I will not have math centers on Friday so we can spend that time reviewing what was done during the week. (I know it will take longer than 20 minutes, but with our LA assessments on Fridays, that will free up time too.)

Here is what I have planned for week 1.

Measurement-There are 20 pictures of objects, places, etc. They are to sort the pictures into 4 piles based on if they would be measured using inches, feet, yards, or miles. There is a graphic organizer for them to complete. (It is a very simple chart.)

Basic Facts-I want the first week to be very simple for them. They are going to roll dice with a friend & take turns adding & subtracting the numbers they roll. This way all the will have are basic facts to the sixes.

Problem Solving: I went to Scholastic's website. There are some really cute math problem solving stories. I have one of those laminated to a file folder for the children to answer. There is a graphic organizer for them to complete with the answer.

Computation Practice: This center will always be whatever is needed. For the first week, I am just having them complete a sheet with repeated addition. I want to begin introducing multiplication soon, so I want them comfortable adding 3+3+3+3.

Marcy Cook tiles are a great and easy math center activity... ask anyone at your school if they have the sheets or the time to explain it to you! Its hands on and very engaging!

I attended Marcy Cook's seminar this past spring and she is fabulous. I encourage all third grade teachers to attend. Her activities are simple but engaging.

Just to clarify. Stations are when every activity is about the same subject and are usually done in one day to accompany the learning goals. For example, I do stations every Friday to practice the skill of the week. Last week we did rounding stations where four activies were set up and all involved rounding numbers. Centers are when you have different topics usually to practice basic skills. Centers are often done over a period of time. There are some great ideas online if you Google Math Centers/Stations. Good luck!

Hi there, can you give some clues about how to make memory games. I am a student teacher and it may be easy for you to make your own but for me it's difficult to figure out how to make by reading your mail. Can you give some visual clues please. thanks

Delh

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