Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Multiplication Mania

Each year, we kick off our classroom study of multiplication with Multiplication Mania Week. It's a week to get our feet wet into what times tables are, through hands-on activities that the students enjoy. Yes, math CAN be fun. (Some of them seem to think that is an impossibility, but if you were to see them during this week, you'd never realize it.)

I've been having Multiplication Mania Week for several years now, but I cannot remember exactly where (on the net) I first hear about this concept. This week is different in each classroom and this year was definitely the best one so far.

Most days we started out with multiplication bingo. We used little snack pieces such as goldfish or M&M's as markers and that made it that much more fun. There are many sites where you can download free bingo cards, but we decided to save the copies and just use our math journals to create our own. It was easier that way to make sure each child had a different card so no one would win at the same time.

We spent about 1 hour doing different math game rotations. The first day, I chose four math games and taught the class how to play them. I then divided them into four different teams and they spent about 10-15 minutes playing each game. The next day, I added several more games so that I had enough different games so that they could do a game rotation with a partner.

Here's a look at some of the games I included. All of them were easy to put together and now that they are at math centers, they are easy to maintain.

This one is Multiplication Tic-Tac-Toe. I already had a Tic-Tac-Toe board game and just threw in a set of multiplication cards. The student must draw a card and solve the problem before placing an "X" or "O" on the board. Of course, three in a row wins.

Another board game that I transitioned into a multiplication game was Connect Four. Add in a set of multiplication cards, and viola'. You have a new math game. Easy, peasy.

This one I found somewhere on Pinterest, I cannot remember where. I use to play this game for reading, though and it was called Bang. But this one is a twist on that and it is called Zap. You label popsicle sticks with multiplication problems. The players take turns pulling out a stick and solving the problem. But watch out! Some of the sticks are labeled with "Zap!" If you get zapped, you must return all your sticks to the container and play continues. Whoever has the most sticks when the time runs out or the container is empty is the winner.

Multiplication Domino War was one of the favorites. I found this one over here. The way it is played is just like war. Each player draws a domino and turns it over. They then multiply both sides of their domino together. Whoever has the larger product keeps both dominoes. If it's a tie, they each keep one domino. Whoever has the most dominoes when all the dominoes are used, is the winner. A lot of my students really loved this one.

Spiral Multiplication was another Pinterest game. I'm not sure of the website that it is found on though. It is super easy. The students use the number and ace cards from a deck to create a spiral out of the cards (as pictured). The players each use a marker to move on top of the cards. Start at the outside of the spiral. Roll one die. Move that many spaces and multiply the number on the card by the number on the die. If you correctly answer it, you stay put. If not, you must move back the number on the die. First to the center of the spiral wins.

There were several more games that we played that were not pictured. My personal favorite was one called Fit that was played with Lego's. Here's a link to that one. And other fun one used arrays. It was a great game for visualization the multiplication problems on graph paper. Here's the link.

Each day, we also had drills. This year I adopted a new program called Kicking It! Multiplication that has been a big hit in my classroom. Previously, we have done mad minutes, but I like this new program for several reasons. One reason is that it is based on brain research. Also, the students still get a timed drill, but they also have verbal practice. And the best reason of all is that this program is set up with a Karate theme. Students can move up levels and earn belts for learning a certain amount of facts. It's amazing! I purchased it over here on TPT if you are interested. She also sells it in a addition/subtraction version.How fun is that? Here's a look at my class practicing for their yellow belts before the timing.

On the final day of our multiplication mania week, we had a whole class game of Multiplication Jeopardy. I made sheets with questions for several different categories. Each category had five questions worth different amounts (100, 200, 300, 400, 500). To cover the different areas of multiplication that we were using, I chose these categories: arrays, equal groups, equations, story problems, and write a story problem.

Probably the highlight of the whole week was a math incentive that I tweaked from over here. It was our multiplication store. Each student had the opportunity to earn money based on how they did on their daily math assignment from the book. I kept it simple and followed this formula...they got $1 for an "A", 80 cents for a "B", 70 cents for a "C", 60 cents for a "D", 50 cents for an "F", and nothing for an incomplete assignment. After grading math, I placed their total at the top of a 3x5 card so they knew how much they had to spend. Parents had previously donated different items that had small pieces such as goldfish, M&M's, candy corn, pretzels, marbles, etc. Each item was priced from 2 cents up to 25 cents for some rolled candy. Students had to use their index card to fill out an order form for each item they wanted. They listed the name of the item, price, how many of that item they wanted, and then multiplied to see how much they would pay for that item. They did that for each item they wanted to purchase and then kept a running total so that they would not spend more than they had. Needless to say, they were sold!

It was a fun week and great classroom tradition. I tried lots of new things this year and had many more things planned but did not have the time to complete them. I wanted to do some multiplication art projects and also make a few multiplication cootie catchers (or fortune tellers, as some people call them), but we just did not have time to squeeze it all in. Maybe next year.

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