I’m going to be honest. I have always been a HUGE fan of puzzles and anytime I can integrate them into my classroom, I do! I love these Number Math Puzzles because they are the perfect way for students to learn their math facts in an exciting way. They’re also self-checking and no-prep which is a win-win in my book. This blog post will tell you my favorite 5 ways to use my Number Math Puzzles in your classroom.
My favorite way to use these number math puzzles in my classroom is by giving it to them to study with. Instead of using traditional flash cards, I like to have my students practice putting together the fact they are on. So, if they are on their 7 facts, I have them take home the 7 fact puzzle to practice! Best of all, there is NO prep on your end. Simply print the puzzle and tell students to take it home. They color it. They cut it out. And THEY put it back together. If you want some accountability, you can tell them you’d like them to glue it back together on a piece of paper and bring it back to school the next day too. Boom. Instant math fact fluency practice and homework assignment are done!
My second favorite way to use these is to hang them up on a bulletin board. My students really enjoy getting to do something special each time they pass a math fact. That something special in our math class is signing the math fact they just passed. I’ll hang up each number on the board and when they pass their 8s, they get to sign their name on the 8 puzzles. It’s a small celebration that they really look forward to.
The next way I like to use these is in math center rotations as a fact fluency center. I challenge students to complete as many as they can in a 20 minute period. They’ll have 13 puzzles in front of them from 0-12. I tell them they have to start with the fact they are currently working on. So, if they are on their 3s, they have to put together that fact first. Then, they can work on any other ones they’d like. This way, they’re getting practice with what they need (3s) but can also feel excited and some confidence while putting together a puzzle they already know the facts for (like the 2s).
Competition is serious and exciting in third grade. We like to have a lot of competitions and keep it fun in my classroom. I’ll give each table a puzzle (or 2) and have them race to see which table group can put it together the fastest. This only takes a few minutes and is a great way to start our math block some days to do something quick with fact fluency for multiplication and division facts.
I’ve also used these puzzles as a whole group team-building activity. I’ll put one piece of a puzzle on the board. I’ll put all of the rest of the number math puzzles around the room scattered in random places. The kids have to work together to figure out where the pieces go before my timer goes off. This requires some collaboration and communication for sure! The kids love it and it’s a great brain break when we’re feeling a little burnt out.
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