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October 20, 2016

# Frightful Factors Math Practice

Grades 3–5

Halloween is just around the corner and we all know kids get incredibly squirrelly as this fun day draws near. I can’t blame them at all, because Halloween is my favorite holiday! To avoid Halloween havoc, I try to weave the holiday theme into our academics to keep the kiddos engaged even as they anxiously await to don costumes and collect copious quantities of candy.

Over the past few years of working with intermediate elementary students (grades 3–5), I have found that math lends itself very well to some fun Halloween activities. Teaching multiplication, factors, and multiples typically falls into this time of year, and so I have created some fun and engaging activities for students to do during small group and independent work station practice.

Below you will see a hands-down, teacher-tested and student-approved favorite that you could implement in your classroom tomorrow! The best part is that students can do this activity over and over again, working with different factors and multiples. Enjoy this residual Halloween activity with your own little ghouls and goblins!

## Factor “Dem Bones” Activity:

Perfect for whole group introduction, small group instruction, or independent/center practice. This activity reinforces the concept of factors for multiplication products.

### Materials:

• Skull tracing template

• 18 cotton swabs

• Black construction paper

• White paper

• Black marker

• Scissors

• Glue or tape

• White crayon or colored pencil

• Dice

• Math notebook or scratch paper

• Regular pencil

### Instructions: CREATE YOUR SKELETON

1)   Create your SKULL: Using the template provided, either make copies of the skull for students to cut out, or use the template to create a TRACING template out of a manila folder for students to use with white construction paper. If using a TRACER, then students should also color in eyes and nose and draw a mouth. Students cut out their completed skull.

2)   Glue six whole cotton swabs horizontally onto the center area of the black paper to make the skeleton’s ribs.

3)   Glue one vertical whole cotton swabs on top of the six horizontal “rib” Q-tips to represent the skeletal backbone. Make sure the backbone Q-tip sticks up above the top of the rib Q-tips to look like the neck bone.

4)   Glue four whole cotton swabs for the arm joints and leg joints.

5)   Cut six whole cotton swabs in half, or make them even shorter if you prefer. These are smaller bones that can be used as the ten fingers, and two to be the feet. Glue them in place on the black construction paper.

6)   Glue the bottom of the cut-out skull to the top of the black construction paper, just ABOVE the neck bone. The top of your skull may stick up above the top edge of the black construction paper. If so, that’s great! Also, you may want to make your skull crooked and not totally straight, just to add some character.

### Instructions: FACTOR “DEM BONES” PRACTICE

1)   Using one die rolled multiple times, multiple dice, or fancy double or triple dice (can make numbers two-plus digits to differentiated for different skill levels, numbers could go as high as teacher/students see fit), students create their PRODUCT number to be written on the skull of the skeleton.

2)   Then, students use scratch paper to flesh out all of the factors for that target product number.

3)   Once they have worked through factorization and have checked to see if any factors are missing, they pair up the sets of factors on opposite sides of each rib bone. (See example for more details.)

4)   Students may take home finished factor skeletons, or you may want to keep these and hang them up. They make DARLING hallway and bulletin board decorations!

### Thank you for reading and hope you have a hauntingly great Halloween with your students! For even MORE ideas for Halloween classroom activities, check out my previous MAD SCIENCE SPOOKTACULAR post.

Halloween is just around the corner and we all know kids get incredibly squirrelly as this fun day draws near. I can’t blame them at all, because Halloween is my favorite holiday! To avoid Halloween havoc, I try to weave the holiday theme into our academics to keep the kiddos engaged even as they anxiously await to don costumes and collect copious quantities of candy.

Over the past few years of working with intermediate elementary students (grades 3–5), I have found that math lends itself very well to some fun Halloween activities. Teaching multiplication, factors, and multiples typically falls into this time of year, and so I have created some fun and engaging activities for students to do during small group and independent work station practice.

Below you will see a hands-down, teacher-tested and student-approved favorite that you could implement in your classroom tomorrow! The best part is that students can do this activity over and over again, working with different factors and multiples. Enjoy this residual Halloween activity with your own little ghouls and goblins!

## Factor “Dem Bones” Activity:

Perfect for whole group introduction, small group instruction, or independent/center practice. This activity reinforces the concept of factors for multiplication products.

### Materials:

• Skull tracing template

• 18 cotton swabs

• Black construction paper

• White paper

• Black marker

• Scissors

• Glue or tape

• White crayon or colored pencil

• Dice

• Math notebook or scratch paper

• Regular pencil

### Instructions: CREATE YOUR SKELETON

1)   Create your SKULL: Using the template provided, either make copies of the skull for students to cut out, or use the template to create a TRACING template out of a manila folder for students to use with white construction paper. If using a TRACER, then students should also color in eyes and nose and draw a mouth. Students cut out their completed skull.

2)   Glue six whole cotton swabs horizontally onto the center area of the black paper to make the skeleton’s ribs.

3)   Glue one vertical whole cotton swabs on top of the six horizontal “rib” Q-tips to represent the skeletal backbone. Make sure the backbone Q-tip sticks up above the top of the rib Q-tips to look like the neck bone.

4)   Glue four whole cotton swabs for the arm joints and leg joints.

5)   Cut six whole cotton swabs in half, or make them even shorter if you prefer. These are smaller bones that can be used as the ten fingers, and two to be the feet. Glue them in place on the black construction paper.

6)   Glue the bottom of the cut-out skull to the top of the black construction paper, just ABOVE the neck bone. The top of your skull may stick up above the top edge of the black construction paper. If so, that’s great! Also, you may want to make your skull crooked and not totally straight, just to add some character.

### Instructions: FACTOR “DEM BONES” PRACTICE

1)   Using one die rolled multiple times, multiple dice, or fancy double or triple dice (can make numbers two-plus digits to differentiated for different skill levels, numbers could go as high as teacher/students see fit), students create their PRODUCT number to be written on the skull of the skeleton.

2)   Then, students use scratch paper to flesh out all of the factors for that target product number.

3)   Once they have worked through factorization and have checked to see if any factors are missing, they pair up the sets of factors on opposite sides of each rib bone. (See example for more details.)

4)   Students may take home finished factor skeletons, or you may want to keep these and hang them up. They make DARLING hallway and bulletin board decorations!

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