Whiteboard Math Games

By Natalie Lorenzi

Acquaint students with your whiteboard and get plenty of math practice with one of these super-fun ideas.

Dueling Calculators
Project two calculators and two dice on the whiteboard. Prepare each die ahead of time with pictures of these coins: a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, a half-dollar, and a silver dollar. Divide students into teams and invite a representative from each team to roll the die and enter the coin value on their team calculators. Students take turns rolling the die for their teams and adding each coin's value to the running totals. Which team can accumulate the highest (or lowest) amount in five minutes? Which team can reach exactly $10 without going over? (Variation: Instead of coins, try place value blocks).

For this activity, teams race against each other to reach a predetermined total, practicing both money and calculator skills. Try place-value blocks as an alternative.

Finding the Odds
Project a virtual coin on the whiteboard. Before "flipping" the coin, ask students what the odds are that heads or tails will come up out of 10 tries, 20 tries, or 40 tries. Now, add another coin. What are the possible combinations? What are the odds for each combination? Add a third coin. How do the odds change as you add more coins? Challenge
students to find a pattern.

Ask students to think about probability and possible combinations by flipping a virtual coin. Look for patterns together and add more coins as students become comfortable.

Awesome Arrays
Recruit a colleague to help film your class from a high point (like the top of a ladder). Have the class sit around the perimeter of the camera's field of view. Tell students that you are going to call out a number, and they need to form an array that represents that number. If you call out the number 12, for example, students can get into two straight lines of six, three lines of four, or one long line of 12. After a few warm-ups, let the camera roll! Film a variety of arrays, going from the smallest to the largest, using the whole class in the final array. Back in class, replay the video with the sound muted and have students write the arrays in the order they appear.

How Time Flies
Practice elapsed time by taking a peek in the nest of a bald eagle on Hornby Island in British Columbia, Canada. The site has a running clock down to the second, making it easy to record starting and ending times for various bald eagle activities such as how long it takes for the mother to feed her baby, how long the baby sleeps, how long the mother is gone from the nest, etc

Graphing Faces
Take a digital headshot of each student. Resize the photos so they will fit in the empty squares of an interactive whiteboard grid. (Be sure the grid has the same number of squares in one direction as there are students in the class.) Line up the photos at the bottom of the grid, and you're ready to graph! Use it to record everything from favorite books to least favorite foods, and daily attendance to indoor recess activities.

Create a simple grid and put students' pictures in the bottom row. Use the grid to record attendance, student likes and dislikes, number of pets, and birthday month.

Shopping Smarts
Choose something that your class would like to donate to the school (a playground bench, a garden stone). Shop for the item online and figure out how much money they will need to raise. Brainstorm fundraising ideas, such as bake sales or a school supplies "store," then create a spreadsheet to keep track of fundraising results. Help students analyze the data using different graphs.

Train Your Brain
Math is more than crunching numbers-it's also about puzzles, games, and stretching your mind. Challenge students to improve their memory, lengthen their attention spans, and hone problem-solving skills at lumosity.com or math.com , or teacher.scholastic.com/maven .

Math Storybooks
Share one of these innovative math e-books by Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed, illustrated by Karen Lee: My Half Day, One Odd Day, and My Even Day. Go to sylvandellpublishing.com , click on Teachers & Librarians at the top, then e-books (under Our Products).

Digital Dominoes
Go on a shape hunt! Let students take digital photos of two- and three-dimensional shapes in and around school. Download the photos onto blank dominoes on an interactive whiteboard, or print them onto domino templates and laminate. Instead of matching dots, students can match similar shapes.

Give students ownership over this activity by allowing them to create personalized dominoes with snapshots they have taken around school.



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