Math is one of the important subjects as it involves concepts that help in everyday life. While some students enjoy learning math, others might also take a little longer to understand operations and calculations. In such cases, educators are employing a method of forming small groups of students based on a similar level of understanding.
By doing so, the teacher is able to better address the learning gaps and different learning styles. During small group instruction, students learn and employ newly learned skills in close proximity to the teacher. Additionally, small groups give teachers the chance to provide background information and review fundamental skills.
As teachers think of small group math-based teaching, activities form a crucial part of the curriculum. Different math-based activities offer a comprehensive learning platform thereby engaging students in the learning process. So, this blog includes creative math small group activities that give students an opportunity to involve themselves in real-time learning and clarify doubts in a quick manner.
Fun and exciting activities to engage small groups for mathematics learning
To shift the classroom setting from monotonous traditional theory-based learning to fun and interactive learning, activities play an important part. The below-mentioned activities are a fun way to engage students in learning about numbers, operations, and different mathematical concepts.
1. The Ball Fight!
Kids learn math better when it is presented in a different way. This activity focuses on teaching basic addition and subtraction to empower learning.
- To conduct this activity, give plastic balls to all students
- Now, make students stand in a line facing different buckets
- On each bucket, write an operation and kids need to analyze the answer
- The answer should be in a number format and kids need to throw that number of balls in the bucket
- For addition, they need to throw red balls, for subtraction green balls and for multiplication blue balls
- For example, if the operation is 2 + 2 + 3 = __ then kids need to throw 7 red balls in the bucket
As kids get into the zone of throwing balls, not only they enjoy the process but also develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Such activity increases focus and motor skills.
2. The Shape Saga!
Math is also about learning different shapes, their formulas, and measurements to understand various concepts of physics in the higher classes. With this activity, kids can learn about different shapes in a creative manner.
- To conduct this activity, make chits and write names of different shapes on the chits
- Divide kids into teams of 4 students each
- Now, ask the teams to pick a chit
- Now, they need to locate that particular shape around them. They need to collect as many as they can.
- Here, they can be creative by using handkerchiefs, water bottles, or even a sanitizer bottle
Kids definitely know how shapes look but locating them in everyday use objects is altogether a different learning experience. Such an activity boosts creative thinking skills and cooperation among students.
3. Paper Plates and Numbers!
Math has so many different operations and it can be intriguing to learn all of them together. Let’s check out this activity that promotes learning various operations, tables, and counting numbers.
- To conduct this activity, give paper plates to all students
- Now, ask them to stand in a circle
- Start with one student and ask each to write numbers from 0 to 9 in a sequential order
- After 9, the next student again starts with 0
- Once done, play the music and let the kids keep running in a circle with their paper plates
- As the music stops, announce a task, and kids who have those numbers need to come to the center
- For example, if you say odd numbers together, all odd numbers need to assemble together
- Similarly, if you say 4 × 5, then students with numbers 2 and 0 need to assemble in the center
In this activity, the teachers or educators can be as analytical as possible in forming the questions. Not only do kids enjoy it but also learn various mathematical concepts in a quick manner.
4. Human Clock!
If students know tables well, they can also read the timings on a clock. This activity exactly focuses on making children learn about telling time and understanding how the dials work.
- To conduct this activity, make a huge clock on the floor
- Make sure all numbers are visible in the huge clock
- Now, ask students to make their flashcards and write numbers from 0 to 9
- After this, announce any time – 6:45, 5:32, 4:37, 8:05, 12.26, and so on
- As you announce, students with their respective flashcards need to come and stand at the right position on the human clock to depict that time
Learning about time is crucial in math. As students learn to stand according to time, they also learn the tables in a different manner. The human clock adds different fun to the learning environment.
5. Bowling and Learning!
As the name suggests, this activity is similar to bowling. Here, kids get to learn about addition and even lines while throwing balls.
- To conduct this activity, take 10 plastic bottles
- Ask kids to write numbers on these bottles
- Now, place the bottles in a pattern just like in any bowling game
- Now, ask kids to take a ball and throw it to make bottles fall
- After this, give them a minute to calculate their score depending on the numbers that fall
This activity is important to also understand how a ball rolls with force and goes in different directions depending on the floor and speed. While kids learn about addition, they also get ideas about force, speed, and relativity with friction.
6. The Bingo Activity!
Bingo is a famous activity played by students but with some twists. This activity focuses on learning different mathematical operations and finding their answers.
- To conduct this activity, ask students to draw a table with 5 rows and 5 columns
- The rows and columns should intersect each other
- Now, each student will have 25 boxes
- They need to write numbers from 1 to 25 in these 25 boxes
- Now, the teacher reads different mathematical operations and students need to circle that answer
- For example, if the teacher says 4 x 4 then students need to circle the number 16
As students learn different operations, they also become quick with thinking. Such activity develops memory and increases focus.
7. Clay Angles!
Clay is always fun as kids get to create anything and everything out of it. They also develop motor skills while creating a fusion of different colors.
- To conduct this activity, put names of different angles in a chit
- Ask each student to pick a chit
- After this, ask students to make that angle with the usage of Clay
- They can use different colored clay for depicting each line at an angle
As students get an opportunity to learn about right, acute, and obtuse angles, they also learn about the usage of a protractor. Such activity creates a fun learning environment with different colors.
8. Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and ladders is a common game most kids play in their childhood. However, here’s the twist that it is all about calculations.
- To conduct this activity, you can make a huge snakes and ladders scenario in the play area or simply use the board game
- As players throw dice and move ahead, they need to add the numbers they get to after throwing a dice
- Similarly, if they are bitten by a snake the number gets deducted twice from the actual number count. For instance, if Player A reaches number 5 and then number 21, the score would be 21 + 5 which is 26. After that, on the next turn, the player gets bitten by a snake and reaches number 8, then the player needs to subtract the number 8 from the actual score, which will be 26 – 8 = 18.
As students get the chance to add and subtract, they also develop mental math abilities. While they are all involved in the activity and even calculating numbers, they get an opportunity to work on their multitasking skills.
9. Tic Tac Toe
Again, Tic tac toe is a popular activity that is generally done with X and 0. However, the twist is to use the numbers and match lines before the other players.
- To conduct this activity, ask students to draw two vertical and two horizontal lines
- Now, they have a structure with 3 columns and 3 rows
- After this, teachers will say any random number, and students need to use numbers accordingly to have that number as the answer
- The answer can be in the vertical, horizontal, or diagonal form only
- For example, if the teacher says 20, then students can use numbers like 10, 6, and 4 and then describe how addition makes it 20. The same has to be followed for other boxes as well that is the student has to fill the boxes in such a way that the sum of the numbers either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally has to be 20 (or any number the teacher gives) just like a sudoku
While students must have played the traditional game, this activity changes the entire plot and students learn more about mathematical operations.
10. Present Numbers
Math revolves around various number sense activities that help students understand the importance of creating relatability with concepts.
- To conduct this activity, give students a sheet of paper
- Now, any number should be assigned to students
- They need to present this number in different mathematical ways
- For example, if the number is 4 then they can draw 4 fingers, a dice representing 4, 4 tally marks, and so on
- They cannot simply draw any shape but only draw something that visually represents the number 4 just like a Lego block
As small groups get an opportunity to relate to everything around them, they are more likely to understand the concept of number sense. They also develop visual skills with this activity.
Many kids perform better in small groups because they are less intimidated by the other kids and the variety of things to investigate. Small group activities foster more approachable interactions between all students and the teacher. The above-mentioned activities are helpful in developing the mental math abilities of students while fostering a positive learning approach in the class.
As teachers, parents, and educators consider math activities for small groups, they can also take advantage of math manipulatives, board games, and online games to create an engaging learning experience for kids. Math-based blogs are also helpful for teachers and parents to stay updated with recent discoveries.