Quick, Easy Whiteboard Math
SET IT UP: Create a virtual paper bag to hide the following objects: basic shapes, 3-D shapes, photos of everyday school objects (desk, chair, door, swings, faces of classmates or teachers).
How to play: Students click on the bag to reveal one of the objects inside, then draw a line of symmetry on each.
Stretch it: When finished, challenge students to sort the objects according to the number of lines of symmetry.
Building Place Value
SET IT UP: Display a 10-sided die with the numerals 0–9. Then set up blanks representing a multi-digit number, like this: _ _ _ _ _ _ _. Finally, create 10 infinite number tiles for numerals 0–9.
How to play: Have students draw commas between the appropriate blanks, then take turns rolling the virtual die. They need to decide where to place each numeral in order to make the largest number possible. Once a numeral is placed, it cannot be moved. After a few rounds, invite the class to play in teams.
Stretch it: Challenge kids to make the smallest number possible, or see who can come closest to a random number.
SET IT UP: Display a multicolored spinner with some colors represented more often than others.
How to play: Make a chart showing the probability of the arrow landing on each color. Have students take turns “spinning” the arrow. Compare the number of times the arrow lands on each color to the original probability chart.
Stretch it: Earth is 70 percent water. Display a “spinnable” globe and have students take turns giving it a whirl. When it stops, the student should cover his eyes with one hand and touch the globe with the other. How often is water touched vs. land? Do students touch water 70 percent of the time?
SET IT UP: Show a number generator and a place-value spinner (ones, tens, hundreds, etc.). Also, show a football field with players in each of the end zones.
How to play: After touching the number generator and spinner, students round the number to the place shown on the spinner. For example, if the number generator shows 588 and the spinner shows “tens,” students will round to 590. For each correct answer, students move their players forward ten yards until they make a touchdown!
Stretch it: Program the number generator to only produce numbers ending in zero. Challenge students to come up with a number that would round to the number displayed on the generator.
Can You Expand on That?
SET IT UP: Display a number generator with an answer box below it. Make columns of separate movable number strips color-coded according to place value. For example, the first column might be blue strips for the thousands, then red strips for the hundreds, etc.
How to play: A student clicks on the number generator, then “builds” that numeral with number strips. If the number generator shows 4,689, for example, the student first drags the number strip showing 4,000 and drops it into the answer box. Then the student drags the 600 number strip and places it over the zeros on the 4,000 strip. The 80 number strip will cover the zeros in 600, and so on until the number 4,689 has been built.
Stretch it: Have students research the population of your school, town, county, state, the U.S., and the world. Can they build these numbers?
Around the World
SET IT UP: Display a math facts generator in the center of the whiteboard. Around the generator, post thumbnails of famous world sites. Across the bottom, place team game pieces.
How to play: In this variation of the traditional Around the World math facts race, when the generator displays a math fact, the first team to answer correctly moves its game piece to the first world site. The first team to visit all the sites is the winner.
Stretch it: Instead of “traveling” around the world, display photos of different sites around your school or town. —Natalie Lorenzi