Mastering the Games
and secret codes help kids learn math skills.
Math Fact Pairs
Encourage your students
to pair up math facts and their answers with this fun floor game. To make
the game: Trace a pair of shoes for your pattern, duplicate on thick paper,
and then cut out. On each left shoe print, record a math fact, for example
2 + 8. On the right shoe print, record the answer, i.e. 10. To play, students
lay all the right shoe prints on the floor, and then pair the equations
with their answers. It is an active way to practice quick math skills
— Adapted from an idea by Sr. Samuella, O.P., Holy Rosary School, Duluth,
MN
Beat the Calculator
Propose a calculator
race! Read to your class the legend of John Henry, the folk hero who put
his muscle up against the might of the steam engine. Tell them you have
a modern challenge. In pairs, students go headtohead, one with a calculator,
and the other with his or her wits and grit! You call out the problem,
and they race to compute the answer. The idea is not to encourage your
students to be antitechnology, but to foster pride in themselves and
what they know.
Math
Secret Codes
Offer
your students these "secret codes" for mastering simple addition
problems.
 "Add
one, Next one." Adding one to a number pushes it up
to the next, as in 3 + 1 = 4, 4 + 1 = 5.
 "Two
More, Even or Odd the Score." If you begin with an even
number, you get the next even number; if you start with
an odd number... e.g., 4 + 2 = 6, or 7 + 2 = 9.
 "Double
Plus One, Problem's Half Done." Once you know your doubles
it's a breeze. Then you can take 3 + 4 and see "Well, it's
just two 3s and one more, so that's 7!"
 "Ten's
My Friend." If you know 8 + 2 = 10, 8 + 4 is easy, think
"10 plus 2, that's 12."
 "Same
Thing Coming and Going." This keeps students from being
thrown off by reversals: 7 + 2 is the same as 2 + 7.
Make a Secret
Code book. On each page, ask students to write the rule, explain
it in their own words, and give examples. —Bob Krech, Dutch
Neck School, Princeton Junction, NJ 

