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October 28, 2014 Common Core Halloween Math: Printable Games for Number Sense By Meghan Everette
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Our math units circle back around to addition fluency problems in October, and students start to become a little bored with the same old thing. To spice things up for the holidays, our first grade decided to change out some of the traditional manipulatives and word problems with Halloween-themed treats. If Halloween isn’t an appropriate theme for your class, using fall leaves with foam stickers or silk leaves as manipulatives works just as well. The important thing is giving students many opportunities to practice computational fluency while enjoying their work.


    Some fun, fall manipulatives might include:

    • Halloween foam shapes

    • Black, orange, and white foam shapes

    • Fall leaf stickers

    • Silk leaves

    • Acorns

    • Pumpkin seeds

    • Candy (candy corn, individually wrapped gum, etc., or images of the same)

    • Plastic monsters or spiders


    Content Standard

    Candy Corn Word ProblemsCCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.OA.A.1
    Use addition and subtraction within 20 to solve word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, e.g., by using objects, drawings, and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.

    Activity — Halloween Word Problems

    Change out the usual word problems for a little more fun. Switch activities so they are Halloween or fall-themed. Manipulatives can be real items or paper prints. Try a word problem finding a combination of candy and paper candy manipulatives, or a variety of “stick and solve” problems printed on mailing labels to stick into a math notebook.


    Math word problems


    Candy Corn in a Cup


    Content Standard

    Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).


    Activity — Candy Corn in a Cup

    Grab between 8 and 12 candy corns (or individually wrapped candy, or images of the same) and some fun, themed cups. Partner students. One partner hides some of the candy in a cup. The other partner uses what they see to help determine what is hidden in the cup. Then students record work on a chart. Students can use a variety of strategies, such as mental subtraction, knowledge of addition, or counting up.



    Candy Corn in a Cup


    Content Standard

    Compose two-dimensional shapes (rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, half-circles, and quarter-circles) or three-Black Cat Pattern Block Patterndimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape.


    Activity — Geometric Black Cat

    Students use pattern blocks to fill in a cat shape. They should try to fill in one version with more shapes, and one with less. Then they can record how many of each shape they used and the total number of shapes used. To extend learning, have students use shapes to create their own Halloween or fall pictures and trace the edge. They can share with partners and challenge their partner to fill the picture they made.


    Using Pattern Blocks

    Halloween and autumn math fun doesn’t stop there. Learn more with these activities:

    Max’s Math Adventures

    "Halloween Multiplication Mysteries"

    "Halloween Mad Science Spooktacular"

    "The Pumpkin Project — Math, Science, and Fun!"

    "Pumpkin Investigations Using Mean, Median, and Mode"



    What fun ways do you brighten up math workshop?


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