Games are great way to supplement and extend any learning activity. Kids are engaged and having fun, while cementing those concepts they just learned. They get to compete and exercise their skills and build confidence at the same time. Second grade math games should involve skip counting (multiplication foundations) money (solving problems, adding and subtracting), time (telling time as well as solving problems with elapsed time), mental math (addition and subtraction of numbers up to 100), using and reading fractions, and basic geometry.
Let’s look first at a couple games that can be played with an ordinary deck of cards.
Everyone has heard of War, but to add a twist try addition or subtraction war. To play, each player flips two cards at a time. They then add the two numbers together (Jacks are worth 11, Queens 12, Kings 13 and Aces 1), the player with the highest value wins. If playing subtraction war then the lowest value is subtracted from the highest value, and the player with the lowest score wins. The game continues until one player has run out of cards. If you have a few advanced students, the game can also be used to solidify multiplication and division facts.
How about some games to play using flash cards?
Around the World is very easy to learn and adaptable to all levels of math. If the class is working on fractions, then use fraction cards, the students can race to be the first one to state an equivalent fraction, reduce the mixed fraction, or call out the digit in the denominator position. To play all students remain in their seats, the first two players stand up at one of their chairs. The first one to get the correct answer moves to the next seated student, and the other sits down. Play continues until the game has gone all the way around the world (or the classroom) back to the first player’s chair. You can reward the winner with a piece of candy or other token, place their name in a winner circle displayed in the classroom, or give extra free time.
Many teachers will tell you the fun and excitement of Mum Ball, but have you ever thought about this indoor recess game being adapted to enhance Math concepts? To play you follow the same rules as regular mum ball; no talking, use a soft ball such as a Nerf or Koosh, if you miss a catch or get hit you’re out, etc. The difference is when the player catches the ball the teacher holds up a flash card, the player then gets 5-10 seconds to say the answer. The last player standing or sitting on their desk is the winner. This is another one that can be adapted for whatever concept the class is working on.
Of course there are some great board games that can enhance the math curriculum for second graders. Monopoly now has a few wonderful Junior games that help students cement the concepts of money and consumer based math. There are also several math based games available at Educational Learning Games.
There is also the option of online or computer related interactive games. A simple search for math games will bring these to the top in most search engines. In this digital age, however, the board games and personally interactive games are more necessary in the classroom. Perhaps sharing a list of links or suggested sites to parents for students’ practice at home would be a viable option. When your second graders find out you are going to be playing games during math lessons you won’t be able to contain their excitement!