Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Math Mania - AKA Fun way to use a worksheet when you're low on copies

Running low on copies???

Kids getting bored in your class??

Tired of trying to force your students to collaborate?

Taking stuff home to grade and falling asleep before it gets out of your bag?

Then try a Math Mania!!!

I've got to give credit to the teachers I worked with my first year that told me about this (Ami Harman and Lindsey Heinzman at Henry Middle School in Leander).  If it wasn't for this I would have been in big trouble multiple times over!

The basic idea is that you can take any worksheet -- basic computation, word problems, applications, etc -- and easily turn it into a game and engaging activity.

Here are the basic rules I posted while the students were working:
Word Doc can be found here

Students will be working in groups of 2-4 (3 was my personal max, but you can download and edit the doc as you want).  The worksheet only needs to be copied for the maximum number of groups you would have in a class (hence the saving on the copies).

Once you copy the worksheet I usually cut it up so that only 1 problem was on each sheet but for this example I'm going to have 3 problems on each sheet.  

Pass out the scoresheets so that each group gets 1 and make sure everyone has their own piece of paper.

Then each group gets one problem or set of problems at a time.  As the group works together and finishes they send 1 person up to have their problem(s) checked.  I always told the students to make sure and have everyone's work showing for the problems when they got to me, to have their score sheet and to have their question.I learned the hard way that my students would get a little too competitive and would start crowding around me so I taped a line on my floor like the picture below and would have the students line up behind the tape so I still had breathing room.
If someone came up without the question or without the score sheet I would make them go back and get all their materials before I would start checking their answers.

I also made sure to have my answers on the back of the envelopes lightly in pencil so that I didn't have to constantly check my answer doc while the kids came up.

When checking the work if ALL the students in the group got the answer correct then I would circle the 10 for the number, like Kendra and Rachel did.  If they got it wrong, like Patrick and Nicole did here, I would mark out the 10 and tell them to double check their work.  

NOTE: I would not give many hints or review material with the students at that time because I wanted them to work through why they got it wrong AND because if I started doing that then the line would get really backed up and the kids would have too much down time.  If a group continued to get a wrong answer on 1 question multiple times then I would help the students or I would have another student or another group help them out with what they goofed on.

After they get all the questions on the sheet of paper right I would take the slip from the question they had just answered and then give students the next question and have them keep working through this process.  

As an added bonus when kids would get a question right I would let them ring the bell on my desk.  For some reason that really helped motivate them to keep working and stay accurate while trying to work quickly.

When the group was done I would have them staple all their work together with their score card on the top and put it in the basket they turned in all their materials to.  The work was easily graded and put into the gradebook saving me tons of time and copies!

Please let me know if you have any questions on any of this or need any clarification or have any tips for any other teachers that may try this for the first time!

Keep up the awesome work everyone!!!


  1. I absolutely LOVE this review/game structure! Thank you for the clear explanation. I will definitely be trying this in my classroom soon!
    Math to the 7th Power