Math facts are in constant practice in my classroom. I know that if students are practicing consistently, they lose their fluency. Because of this, my students complete math fact puzzles every month during our math center rotations. This blog post will discuss my 5 favorite ways to implement using these math fact puzzles in the classroom.
I put all five puzzles in a math center and ask students to complete as many as they can in a 30 minute period. With 5 puzzles, I’ve never had a group finish all 5 (yay for on-task behavior!) and the puzzles get more challenging with each level. The Level 1 puzzle has only 9 pieces and is very simple while the Level 5 puzzle has over 30. I put each level on a different colored cardstock so none of the pieces get mixed up.
Differentiate and give each student what they need. With 5 different levels, my students who need a lot of support complete the Level 1 puzzle and my highest students try to complete the Level 5 puzzle. When we play like this, I put all of the puzzles on the same colored paper so no one is any wiser. When I do this, all students are on task but everyone feels like they are doing the same puzzle so no one really realizes exactly what I’ve actually given out.
Competitions are very popular in my classroom. Sometimes, I’ll set a timer, put out all of the math puzzles and see which table group can put together the most puzzles in a 30 minute period. Whenever my groups are having trouble collaborating or need some work on their communication skills, I like to use this activity a lot.
Parents ask me all of the time how they can practice math fact fluency at home. These are the perfect game to send home. I simply print and send home the puzzles with the child. The parents cut it out and do the hard work of putting it back together again with their child. I just print and go!
Instead of printing these out on colored paper, sometimes I’ll print them out on white paper. I’ll give one to each child during morning work and let them color it. Then, I’ll ask them to cut it out too and put it in a bag. The kids LOVE this because they get to put together puzzles that they “created” themselves and I love it because I don’t have to cut anything out at all!
If you’re interested in these math fact puzzles, you can check them out below!