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CCSS Math Tub Organization

By Shari Edwards on November 21, 2012
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5

Working with a small group of Tier 2 students can be so effective — when I can focus on the students in front of me. That didn’t always happen for me with 17 or 18 other 2nd graders in the room. That is, before I began using Math Tubs for the Tier 1 (on level) students to keep them engaged and productive while I work with a few that need extra time to be successful.







CCSS Math Tubsmath tub stack

My schedule includes 30 minutes a day of tiered math instruction as part of our district's RTI initiative. Math tubs have proven to be a win-win for my class. My students love them, and once I have them assembled, they become the easiest part of my day.

Currently, I have nine tubs, each organized by a different Common Core State Math Standard that my students need to master. The tubs are designed for one to four students at a time to use for a variety of activities for the purpose of differentiation. My students usually work in predetermined pairs to keep the noise to a minimum.

My Math Tubs

1. Money
2. Fractions
3. Computation
4. Place Value
5. Geometry
6. Measurement
7. Number Sense
8. Data and Probability
9. Math Library


  • Materials, books, and activities selected for practice with or investigation of a specific common core standard (include activities that can be used with a partner or alone)
  • Dry-erase board
  • Marker
  • Eraser
  • Manipulatives to support activities
  • Games from the math curriculum — pretaught only
  • "I Can . . . " sheet describing the possible activities for the tub

computation tubdata tub

Procedures, Management, and What It Looks Like

Matching students according to math level and personality can be a little tricky.  I leave the partners together for at least nine weeks at a time. They learn to work together and help each other.

Sometimes partners work together and other times they choose to work on different activities sitting side by side.

I allow pairs to find their own spot in the room because it works well in my classroom. The only tub that has a specific location is the data and probability tub. It is stationed near the math board where the estimation jars and student data are located. Assign locations if necessary.

There are two rules during Math Tub work. Students must stay at their spot with their partner and must keep working on something from the tub until the time is up.








One More Tip

When students are working with games and manipulatives, something is bound to get lost. I keep a box of extra coins, dice, markers, and anything else they might need.

Before they put their tubs away, they spend a minute organizing and replacing missing pieces for the next group.

extra and found math manipulatives





How do you organize your math stations?



Comments (4)

Would you be willing to share what your I Can sheets to give me an idea of how your tubs work?
Thanks so much!

I do a whole group lesson which takes about half of our math time. Then I have five workstations...one per day. I have split my groups into five so each group works at one station per day. This way I can pull any student who is struggling with our math lesson. I have also put the station groups according to students who need the same "thing" from the math stations. Some of my 2nd graders are ready for multiplication and so they work on that during the computation work station and others will work on two digit addition etc. My workstations are 1. Computation 2. Geometry 3. Games from our math series that reinforce the lessons from the week 4. Number Sense and 5. Rocket Math

Hi Kristen!
It's interesting to see how many good ideas there are for math station work. Thank you for sharing!

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