Math Games for the Elementary School Classroom

“Okay everybody, put away your books, pencils, and paper, let’s play a game!” Whoops and shouts of joy fill the room, and on every face a smile, until you enthusiastically conclude with, “Let’s play linear equations!” Gone are the joyful expressions, replaced with wrinkled brows. You just committed the equivalent of a mother shouting to a famished brood, “Dinner is ready!” and as they rush to the table they see the leftover brussel sprouts. But, it doesn’t have to be this way, as there is really no difference between a math game, and a baseball game, with exception to the equipment.

So, let’s play a little math baseball.

First, it really doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of teaching multiplication tables, or quadratic equations, the game is not dependent on this. It is only a fun way to practice the skills.

Divide the class into two teams, A & B, (or whatever names they decide,) and choose a captain over each team. On your black board, or dry erase, draw a large baseball diamond. Begin the first inning.

Team A pitches a math problem, from a list usually preprepared by you, (or from a recent test). Team B has their batting line up, and each batter may go to the board to “swing” at the problem. If it connects it is a base hit, and as each team progresses as in a baseball game, rounding the bases. If they miss the problem it is a an “out, depending on how long you wish to play. After three outs the teams switch, and game play continues as in a baseball game.

Remember to have a lot of problems on hand, as there may be extra innings.

What about math basketball?
Same basic rules as math baseball, with the exception of the teams, are now allowed to help each other “tap it in” After each correct or incorrect answer, the teams switch back and forth with the “ball”. Pretty easy actually.

Another math game is volley ball, where a problem is served, the opposing team may want to add to the problem, thus setting up the shot, with the opposing team answering the questions, and the serve changes.

Don’t forget math soccer, math hockey, and math rugby, if you are fan. Whatever sport is your passion, that’s the math game to play, because as mentioned before ANY game can become a math game for elementary school students, it’s only a matter of changing the equipment.