Beach Card Games

Standards Met: CCSS.Math.Content.2.OA.C.4; 3.OA.A.1
What You Need: Student card decks of 24 single-digit multiplication problems and 24 matching arrays of shapes; direction sheet for each group
What to Do: Just in time for summer, Fern Smith created a set of beach-themed card games for her third graders at Grove Park Elementary in Orange Park, Florida. Featuring a bird in swim trunks on a palm tree–studded island, the cards are used
for a variety of math games. Students can play the games in small groups while gathered around a beach towel in a corner of the classroom. For added seashore ambience, play some background tunes by the Beach Boys.

To set up the games, Smith cuts out and laminates the card sets and game instructions for each small group, then places them in resealable plastic bags for use in a center.

One of the games is a variation on Concentration. Students turn over card pairs, trying to match a multiplication problem with its answer array. In another game called Old Bird, students try to match problem-and-array cards in their hands without getting stuck with the Old Bird card.

Sunny Math Days

Standards Met: CCSS.Math.Content.2.NBT.B.5; 3.NBT.A.2
What You Need: Math problems written on sunglass-themed cards and a recording sheet for each student; mobile devices with QR code reader app
What to Do: Kristin Kennedy, a second-grade teacher at Irving Elementary School in Berwyn, Illinois, designed a math activity to tie in with summer’s sunny days. One lens on her sunglass-themed cards contains a two-digit addition or subtraction problem, and the other contains the answer—hidden behind a QR code.

Kennedy cuts out the cards and posts them around the classroom. Students circulate, solving the problems and recording their answers on their response sheets. “I like to get my students up and moving around during math,” says Kennedy. “They scan the QR codes with an iPad to self-check their answers as they go."

Tent Craftivity

Standard Met: CCSS.Math.Content.2.NBT.B.5
What You Need: Construction paper cut in half widthwise; an addition and subtraction activity sheet for each
; glue; scissors
What to Do: Marcy Bernethy has an end-of-the-year math campout with her second graders at Mt. Enterprise Elementary in Texas. One of the many activities they do is a math “craftivity.” To begin, students fold 9-by-6-inch construction paper widthwise to create a midline. They fold the outside top corners to meet at the bottom midline like tent flaps, and label one tent flap “addition with regrouping” and the other “subtraction with regrouping.”

Next, students solve two-digit addition and subtraction facts on an activity sheet. Afterward, they cut out each fact. “Then,” explains Bernethy, “they sort and glue the problems under the correct flap.” When students have completed their tents, they check their answers in small groups. They can stand up the tents in a mini-­campground for the rest of the day.

Favorite Number Project

Standards Met: CCSS.Math.Content.2.NBT.B.5; 3.NBT.A.2
What You Need: : Poster board, markers
What to Do: “One of my favorite things to do at the end of the year is the Favorite Number Project,” says Ciera Harris, a second- and third-grade looping teacher at Central Elementary in Beech Grove, Indiana.

Students choose their favorite number and then follow a list of math instructions to create a poster centered around that number. You can differentiate the project by dictating which numbers students are allowed to choose (e.g., a two-digit number or a fraction) and by varying the degree of difficulty of your instructions.

Students begin by writing their number, such as 75, in the center of their poster. They fill in the rest of the poster by completing the tasks in your instructions. This could include creating a number line using 75; subtracting two numbers that have a difference of 75; or writing a word problem involving 75 expressed in money. Students then pair up to check each other’s work. They can decorate the border of the posters with summer-themed images. 

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Photo: Adam Chinitz