Math Hunt
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Lesson 1: Grades 5-8
Lesson 2: Grades 5-8
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Teacher's Guide

Lesson 1: Math Sleuths

Grade Level: 5-8

Lesson Introduction

Students work together to complete a Math Hunt that challenges their problem-solving skills and provides opportunities to further social studies or science understanding. Each group then presents their answers to the class and the processes used to get these solutions.

Build Background Knowledge

Discuss the practical applications of math in everyday life. Ask students to share some of the ways they use math (determining how much time they have to get home in time for dinner, calculating how much money they’ll earn from babysitting their brother, determining how may points they need to get the high score on their favorite game, etc.).

Then share real-world uses of simple and advanced mathematics they may not have though of, such as:

  • Show a train schedule timetable: How much time do we have if we want to make the next train?
  • Check the newspaper for a story about local government budget plans: How do officials know how much money they’ll have to spend?
  • Discuss a construction project that’s going on in your neighborhood: What are the many ways math is essential to ensuring the building goes up right (cutting wood to size, calculating the amount of weight the foundation can hold, determining the correct angles for support beams, etc.)
  • Look at sports statistics from the newspaper: How do you figure out an athlete’s averages based on his or her performance numbers?

Explain that in Math Hunt, they will uncover math questions like these in a variety of places—from throughout history and everywhere on Earth.

Teach with the Activity


  • Divide class into small groups of three or four students. To each group, assign a Math Hunt that’s related to a topic you are studying this year.
  • Walk through one Math Hunt question so the students understand how the process works. Explain that each group of students will complete a Math Hunt on its own and present to the class how they came to find their answers. They’ll document the steps they took to try and solve the problem.
  • Encourage students to break their problems into small steps and show their work.
  • Each group should create a Math Hunt Grid (like the one below) to record their work.


Name of Math Hunt ________________________

Student Team ______________________________



Steps Used

Math Skills*

Show Work














































































* Students can find math skills listed on the homepage of each Math Hunt, or go to the Skill Chart for a complete list of math skills in the Math Hunts.

  • Students should record their work and answers before clicking the appropriate letter in the activity. If the answer they’ve reached is incorrect, the group should try it again until they come to the right conclusion and record their answer in the “CORRECTION” row.
  • Be sure students fill in their group score on the chart.

Present Your Findings

  • Let each group decide how they what to present their Math Hunt work: poster board diagram; flip chart; PowerPoint presentation; even creative methods such as a TV news program.
  •  Provide time for students to collaborate on their presentation.
  • In their introduction to the presentation, groups should include a brief summary about the social studies or science topic they explored. Ask groups to include at least five things about the topic they learned from the Web sites that they did not know before.
  • Give a time limit (perhaps 5 minutes) for each presentation. Suggest that each group create a handout for the class that includes information about the Math Hunt.
  • If while working to solve the problem the group makes any mistakes, they should present the incorrect path first and then show the correct solution. Do other groups recognize the mistake?

Extend Learning

Additional Activities:

Help students create a Math Hunt board game using the steps below.

  1. Students create a 100-space game board in a path from start to finish. Each box along the path should be named for one of the math skills.
  2. On index cards, students write Math Hunt questions from each of the science or social studies topics (one question per card) along with the three possible answers (correct one marked); on the opposite side, students write the math skill the question correlates to.
  3. Place the cards in piles according to math skill to the side of the game board.
  4. Set up a “Reference Library” nearby with printouts of the Web pages where players can search for the information they need to solve the questions.
  5. Provide scrap paper that players can use to work out math problems and paper that be used to keep score.
  6. Divide students in to two or more teams.
  7. A player on Team A rolls a die and uses pawns to move around the board. When the pawn lands on a skill, the opposite team picks the top card in the pile and asks Team A the question.
  8. Using the “Reference Library,” the Team A players needs to find the information to solve the question and then work out the math solution.
  9. For every correct answer, a team earns 10 points and can go again. For incorrect answers, a team loses 5 points and the next team goes.
  10. The team to reach 100 points wins.

4th Edition Standards & Benchmarks

Life Skills
         Thinking and Reasoning
Selects the most appropriate strategy or alternative for solving a problem
         Working with Others
Works cooperatively within a group to complete tasks, achieve goals, and solve problems

Language Arts
Uses electronic media to gather information

Uses multiple representations of information to find information for research topics
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand a variety of informational texts

Uses prior knowledge and experience to understand and respond to new information

Uses a variety of strategies to understand problem situations 

Knows the difference between pertinent and irrelevant information when solving problems

Uses explanations of the methods and reasoning behind the problem solution to determine reasonableness of and to verify results with respect to the original problem

Formulates a problem, determines information required to solve the problem, chooses methods for obtaining this information, and sets limits for acceptable solutions

Understands the concepts of ratio, proportion, and percent and the relationships among them

Multiplies and divides whole numbers

Adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides decimals

Adds and subtracts simple fractions

Solves real-world problems involving number operations

Adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides integers, and rational numbers

Understands the correct order of operations for performing arithmetic computations

Uses proportional reasoning to solve mathematical and real-world problems

Understands the basic measures perimeter, area, volume, capacity, mass, angle, and circumference

Knows basic geometric language for describing and naming shapes