More than a Math Bee—The Math Smackdown

I invented a fun game for practicing basic math facts.  It takes a while to play, so it’s good for Friday afternoons or rainy days.

I call it The Math Smackdown.  Basically, it’s a variation on the traditional spelling bee.

All you need are flashcards for your chosen operation: addition, multiplication, subtraction or division.

> Have the class form two teams.  For instant motivation, let them play boys against girls.
> Appoint one student to keep score on the board using a tally system.  Your job is to hold up flash cards and run the game.
> Each team forms a line parallel to the other.
> Hold up a flash card.  The students at the front of each line compete to see who can answer correctly first.  The student who wins remains in place, and the student who loses goes to the back of his line.  Give the winning team a point.
> Repeat the process indefinitely.

You may need a mercy rule.  If one student has beaten ten kids on the opposite team, retire that student to the back of the line.  (This should be to great applause from both teams.)  The game continues.

Quiet rowdy teams with extra rules.  If one team talks, the opposing team gets a point.  If one team shouts out an answer, the opposing team gets five points.

If interest lags, switch to a different math operation.  Or declare Round One over and appoint new captains.  Let the kids form teams just like they do in sports.  This game is great for a rainy day, and it motivates kids to learn their facts so they’ll be one of the first team picks.

Have fun!

Posted in Academics,Classroom Management,Math by Corey Green @ Jun 14, 2010

1 Comment

1. I love this game! I just learned of this game from another student in one of my education courses. This is a great game to get students excited about math! Thanks for sharing!

Comment by Elizabeth Armstrong — June 14, 2010 @ 5:09 PM

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