November is such a fun time of the year! The beginning of the school year is over, students are (somewhat) more independent and we’re all starting to find our “groove” as the year progresses. Between fall break, family gatherings, and celebrating Thanksgiving, what’s not to love?? And I really enjoy bringing a little seasonal cheer into the classroom however I can. Thanksgiving math games for elementary students make the perfect centers throughout the month of November. Here’s a list of my top 8 favorite things to do for math to incorporate Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Math Games Using Secret Picture Tiles
What are secret picture tiles?? Secret picture tiles are tiles that are put together to form a hidden picture at the end. Students solve math equations while playing this game. When all equations have been solved, students get to see the picture they made! I really enjoyed using these last year when I was teaching in a hybrid classroom. My students in person did the cut-and-glue version and my online students played digitally on Google Slides. There are so many ways to use Thanksgiving math games for elementary in your classroom.
Thanksgiving Math Centers
I use math centers every week in my classroom and change them out monthly. So, when November comes, I always have plenty of Thanksgiving-themed math centers ready to go. I really enjoy putting out lots of partner games so students can play together against a friend. We do a lot of spiral review in math centers so students don’t forget the concepts we learned earlier in the year.
Thanksgiving Math Games – Using Puzzles
I have always been a fan of puzzles ever since I was little and my love of them definitely carries over to my students each year. Puzzles are a great way for students to build their collaboration skills and work together to complete a task. I always have Thanksgiving puzzles available for them to do if they finish their main task early. These Thanksgiving math games for elementary are perfect to pull out when we only have a few minutes or when I have fast finishers who need something to do. Read more details about implementing Thanksgiving Math Puzzles here.
Thanksgiving Math Puzzles:
Thanksgiving Brain Teasers
Brain teasers are always a favorite of my high-ability students because they present a challenge. Students use the clues given to figure out what the missing numbers are. Students need to be strong in number sense, logical thinking skills, and math facts in order to rise to the challenge. I reward students with a small Thanksgiving eraser when they finish all ten!
- Addition and Subtraction within 10 (Kinder-1st)
- Add and Subtract within 20 (1st-2nd)
- Addition and Subtraction within 100 (2nd-3rd)
- Add and Subtract within 1000 (2nd-3rd)
- Multiplication and Division Facts (3rd-4th)
- Multi-Digit Multiplication and Division (4th-5th Grade)
Thanksgiving Balance Beams
For the few students who need a great challenge, I always pull out Thanksgiving Balance Beams. These require a great deal of patience and logic to be successful. Students may have to guess and check and try multiple strategies before finding the answers. If my students do well with logic puzzles, I always recommend they try balance beam games.
Thanksgiving Hide and Seek
Playing hide and seek digitally is an activity I love to use when we’re all gathered as a whole class. I may use it when we have a few minutes before recess, or at morning meeting, or for some math fact practice. Students solve the math facts on screen to try and figure out where the Thanksgiving item is hiding. When they solve each fact, you simply click on the pictures shown to make them disappear. The student who “finds” the Thanksgiving item always gets to come up and call on students on the next slide. I love how easy it is to use and my kids always choose this if I give them a choice when we have a few minutes to spare. You can learn more about Hide and Seek games here.
See Digital Hide and Seek here on TPT.
Thanksgiving Math Games with your Whole Class
Another way I like to celebrate with my whole class is through whole-class math games. To stick with the Thanksgiving theme, I divide the class into small teams. Each team gets a turkey and I scatter feather math facts all over the classroom floor. The students hunt around the classroom for the feathers that belong to their turkey. Kids love finding the correct matches and racing against the other teams to complete their turkey first. Because I want it to be special, we do this during “Fun Fridays”. The best part is the kids don’t even realize we’re working on fact fluency while we play. You can learn more about Whole Class Math games here.
Thanksgiving Room Transformation
The week before break, I always do a Thanksgiving Classroom Transformation. This is normally one of my favorite room transformations of the entire year. Why?? Because my room turns into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I tell students when they come in that they’ve been transported to New York City and we’ll be participating in the parade. I put balloons around the room to represent the different floats and students complete a different challenge at each station.
It’s really easy to set up and keeps students engaged in those last few days while we countdown to the break. This is a big plus! I love to also put on an old video of the parade in NYC from last year on the TV while we play. When students finish all challenges, I let them make an Oreo turkey as a treat. You can read more about the Thanksgiving Classroom Transformation here.
- Kindergarten Room Transformation
- 1st Grade Room Transformation
- 2nd Grade Room Transformation
- 3rd Grade Room Transformation
- 4th Grade Room Transformation
- 5th Grade Room Transformation
- Reading Room Transformation
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