Often when we are searching for a good math game for kids, a lot of digital products pop up. Not that they don’t have a lot of merit behind them, but sometimes we just need something that we can put on paper and have the students use, tech-free.
It is important when reviewing multiplication facts to keep the activities engaging or our students will lose focus quickly. I remember just being made to recite them over and over again and, even as an adult, the thought makes me cringe.
And frankly, I don’t think the blanket repetition truly helped me.
Students, especially today’s Generation Z students, need to be engaged and find merit in what they’re doing. This is purely because of the world they have been born in to. They don’t know a life without Smart Phones or YouTube. We can’t expect them to learn the same as previous generations when their lives are completely different in every way.
And yet, we need to make sure we are challenging them with opportunities that don’t always require a screen for entertainment.
You know what always brings about entertainment? Board games.
Nothing gets students pumped like a little challenge against their friends. Add in the educational benefits of something made for curriculum and you have the perfect storm for student engagement through play.
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One game that always seems to be a winner is the classic “find four” game. Players compete to try to find four in a row of their color after taking turns dropping them within the game board.
I took this concept and applied it to multiplication.
Playing Multiplication Find Four in the Classroom
In Multiplication Find Four, there are boards, chips, and equations ready in both color and black and white for the 2-12 times tables. They are also available blank in case you have your own idea to run with.
The students will draw an equation and solve it. They then place their chip on the corresponding number answer on the board.
If you choose not to play with the chips, each student can just use a different color marker to color in their answer spots.
In the case of the example above, 4 x 4 = 16, so this student would find a number 16 on the board and place his chip on there. There are 4 possible spots where the number 16 would appear on the board, so it is up to the student to choose the spot that would benefit them in trying to get that coveted four in a row.
There are plain chips and also ones that have each of the possible answers on them, depending on which element you are going for as your students play. While there would only be two options for each player to get an answer (each equation is reversed, meaning there is a 2 x 3 option as well as a 3 x 2 option), there are four chips in that color with the answer 6 on them just to have extras (and to add an additional element to the game if you choose). If you choose to use the number chip, the student would find the “16” chip in the photo example above and then place that chip on the 16 that he decided upon.
If you DO use the chips, I would suggest laminating them for repeated use. You can put the different color chips into condiment cups with lids (ad) for easy access and storage (make sure you are storing by denominator as the chips for the “2” equations would be different than the “7” ones and so on.)
Another good idea if you are going this route is to add clear velcro dots to the chips and game board so they stay in place (ad). Nothing will cause a classroom meltdown faster than someone bumping into a desk and sending chips flying.
Cutting out the chips takes the most work in getting this set up, so if you’re going that route, I would do what I could to keep them safe!
Also, if you have some students who are looking for something to help with or parents who come in to assist, many hands would make light work for this.
You also have the option to use this as a station type activity so you would need to cut out minimal chips.
And again, you could just go with markers and forget the chips all together if you just need a quick activity.
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