In the Trenches

Thoughts and Ideas from a Classroom Teacher

Get Moving with Math

on February 8, 2012

Sometimes we just have to practice doing math. We have to read problems. We have to figure out what to do. We need to know how to do it. And we have to follow through with.


Sometimes we can’t think of a creative way to do problem solving for the day. Sometimes we don’t have time to stop at the local discount store to pick up items to make the next day’s lessons engaging, informative and delicious. Sometimes we are just tired.


Sometimes the copier is broken. Other times we are out of copier paper until more is (might be delivered) later in the week. There’s also rain that is a harsh reminder that we won’ t be able to go outside and stretch today.


These sometimes are when I love this strategy for having students complete (shh, don’t tell) a worksheet, without doing a worksheet. I make one copy of the worksheet. I cut it apart. I paste each of the problems around the room. I hand kids a clipboard, a sheet of notebook paper and a pencil and send them off on a problem solving scavenger hunt. Last night, I made a series of SMART Notebook slides with one fraction word problem per page. I printed them out in handout form with two problems per page. Today, I cut them up and taped the 20 problems all around the room. Students folded a sheet of notebook paper into 8 sections and had to show their work to solve any 16 of the 20 problems. After our allotted time, I just pulled up the original SMART file and we were able to go over all the problems. Voila! Movement + math!


This is also a great strategy for standardized test prep practice. I had one student tell me that he knew he could pass the test if he could take it this way!

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