Sunday, February 12, 2012

Multiplication Games

This past Thursday night, my school held a "Family Math Night" where each grade level (Pre-K to 4th) created 3 to 4 different Math games (more like ideas) that parents could take home and utilize with their kids.

Since I teach 4th Grade, our entire Math Night focused on Place Value to the 10ths and 100ths and Multiplication - memorization of the basic multiplication facts (which in Texas is 0-12...).

The other Math teacher for 4th Grade and I really scrambled over this night - we fretted over what games to play.  We wanted the games to be FUN and also a way for our students to play with their parents or siblings - a shared learning experience.  We didn't just want to do single player games - the focus of the night was, after all, FAMILY Math Night.

So, off we set until we came up with the following 4 actvities:

1. Place Value Sidewalk

Now, we cannot take credit for the inception of this game. It is a Kim Sutton activity that I borrowed from the 5th Grade teachers I worked with last year.  I had seen them use it with their students with great success.

Now, it is ABSOLUTELY important that you read the instructions.  You are placing your 4 digit number that you have created by rolling the die 4 times strategically along the place value sidewalk (pictured below).

So, if I were to roll 98.75 as my 4-digit number, I'd want to place it close to 100 on the far right side of the sidewalk.

Your partner is using the exact same numbers as you are, and they are placing them on their own board wherever they think is best. 

Once you get to a point where your sidewalk is filling up, you very well might have a time where you've rolled the die and you cannot place your number anywhere.  Your partner, however, might have the ability to place a number that you cannot since they are placing numbers on their own.

This is the only game I had parents asking a lot of questions about, but then we learned that they didn't read the instructions carefully.

2. What's My Factor?
 This game is AWESOME!  I LOVE it!  I grew up playing Clue and detective games as a kid, and the part of me that enjoyed those games really gets to have fun with "What's My Factor?"

 What I love about this game??  It gets the students to not only practice their basic facts, but it also gets them to practice their VOCABULARY!  Products and Factors, oh my, oh my!  LOVE that they have to use their Math Vocabulary in order to play this game!

You can also alter this game for a younger student with Addition:  "The sum of your two cards is _______."

You could also modify this to a 2 player game where 1 card is drawn from the deck and placed face up on the table.  So, 1 player draws a card and places it on their forehead still, 1 card is drawn from the deck and placed face up on the table, and the 3rd player still uses their script from Step 2 above.

 3. Multiplication Wrap-Ups

This is the only thing that our families were not able to "Take" with them from our 4th Grade Math station.

I remember having these things as a kid, and I would sit around the house on the weekends just playing with them.  I was definitely your "nerd" who enjoyed school as a kid, but I know that even non-school-lovers enjoy these things.  I have allowed a few of my students to take a set home with them, and I have seen some MAJOR progress happen in a very short amount of time.

Okay, back to reality...

Multiplication Wrap-Ups are AWESOME!  The students love them - every time we have down time in class, I have kiddos raising their hands asking if they can get these bad boys out to play with. What do they look like??

Feast your eyes upon this:

They may not look like much, but the concept behind them is absolutely genius!  These FAR exceed your typical Multiplication Flash Cards in getting kids to memorize their basic facts.

The kids like them because they are independent, kinesthetic, and they can time themselves to see how quickly they can get through each of their basic fact sets (x1, x2, x3, etc, etc).

I like them because I don't have to sit there and do flashcards with them.  They are a self-guided activity.  When the students are done and have gotten all the way to the bottom of the Wrap-Up stick, they turn it over to the back, and their string should match up perfectly with the Key on the back. If it doesn't, they investigate to figure out which ones they have wrong.


Now, I know I said that this is one of those activities that we didn't allow parents to take home, BUT, we did provide information on where they can be purchased.

We were able to find them at a couple different places:

1. Mardel (a family Christian store)
2. (if you just search Multiplication Wrap-Ups, they pop up)

You can search it online at google, and a bunch of other retailers pop up, but those were the 2 that I found first, and frankly, they are 2 that I actually trust.

Side Note:  They also have these for Addition, Subtraction, and Division!

4. Multiplication Battleship

This was by far my favorite game of the night.  The other Math teacher and I wrote this game specifically for this night.  We noticed a few things that needed to be tweaked on the instructions, and then we played it with our students the next day in class.  They LOVED it!  Girls and Boys were really getting in to it, and I just laughed as I walked around the room and saw kids celebrating their "Hits" and other kids in near crisis because their battleship was almost sunk!

I love the imagination of kids!

Alright, now on to the "How To" of this game...

The game board:

The original directions are what is posted above.

Here are the few tweaks we made:

1. When calling off a multiplication problem, the first number they call would be the number across the top row, and the second number they call would be the number down in that column.

For Example, if I called 5x6 to "Hit" the product of 30, I would go ACROSS the top row to the 5, and then DOWN that column to the 6th multiple, which is 30.  So, I would be hitting THAT 30. See the chart below:
2. The 2nd tweak I made is that I thought it would be a good idea to make a note of where you've "MISSED" and "HIT" your opponents ships.

So, a MISS would be written as an "M" on the bottom right corner of that square, and a HIT would be written as a check mark in the bottom right corner of that square. Observe, the "M" and Check Mark in the 0x0 and 0x1 boxes below.

Those are all the things we pulled together for our Family Math Night.  Hopefully, you can tweak these games to your liking, or enjoy them as-is!  I would love to hear your feedback on what else you think would work well for these games!

(Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers)

I loved Porky Pig's stutter,

the craft rookie

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