First grade math games can be a fun and exciting way to reinforce concepts for eager learners. Math can be terribly difficult for some students to master, and games offer forth a change of pace and a different way to potentially learn the curriculum. Math games can also make math fun, which can then foster a lifelong enjoyment of this subject, which is often the bane of many students.
Games offer forth a chance for students to learn from all of the diverse learning styles; visually, orally, and kinesthetically. This gives teachers another platform for reaching all of their students, so that they may attain all of their potential in mathematics.
Math games for first graders can involve anything, as long as it is interesting to students in this age group. Young children are willing to play any game, so as long as it can sustain their interest for any length of time, the game will be successful. Math games at this young age must not be complex, but they need to involve the skills of addition and subtraction. If another element can be added, such as memory or cognitive thinking, then the game will be beneficial from several perspectives.
A great math game for first graders is to play the game of ’10’. This game is simple enough to play, and does not involve any equipment or additional space. The game can be played right within the confines of the math classroom. The concept of the game is to have all of the students stand at their desks, and, in order from a designated point, either call out one or two numbers in sequential order. The first person, therefore, either has to say one or one/two. The next person must then say two, two/three, three. or three/four. Since you can only call out one or two numbers, it is not too difficult by any stretch of the imagination. When a child has no choice but to say the number ten, they are eliminated from the competition.
The game goes on until only one first grader is left standing. This game works well because it not only involves the students being engaged in an activity, it gives them a chance to stand up and stretch out their legs, and keep their focus. Being alert is a major concern in elementary school, so physical activity is essential. The game of ’10’ allows children the opportunity to try and figure out the relation between their spot in the order of the game, and the numbers that are being said. If a child pays close enough attention, he or she can be better prepared for when their turn comes. Early on in the game, the players are eliminated readily, but as the game goes on, strategy becomes paramount.
Another great first grade math game is to have the class recite their phone number aloud, and have the other students try to quickly add the numbers together to get a total. This does not have to be done with real phone numbers, which could pose a privacy dilemma, but with phony phone numbers that the teacher has prepared ahead of time. The students will be adding together multiple numbers, which is a great skill to master. As the numbers are read aloud, the students will all be intent on the next number, awaiting it to quickly shout out the winning total. This game gives the first graders the chance to add quickly, and to try and be the quickest one to answer.
Math games can be very beneficial to first graders, so they should be encouraged by the teacher. Math is boring for many first grade students, and stressful for a handful of others. The effective math teacher will be able to figure out how to foster a love for mathematics, and using games can certainly help.