students playing math center games

3 Low Prep Math Center Games That Your Students Will Love

Math Games are a great way to engage your students in meaningful math activities and are so fun! They are great because students love playing math games, and it gets them talking to each other about math in a fun way. However, on the prep side of things, coming up with games to do for any unit can be a pain.

So, in today’s post, I will share with you three math center games that you can use with almost any unit and that your students will love. Also, they are very low prep! 

Now, before I get into the nitty-gritty of establishing a Math Workshop community, if you are looking for a guide to set up your own Math Workshop, I have a guide for you sent directly to your inbox! Just a teacher helping out another teacher! Click here to make your math workshop more engaging and fun!

Why Use Math Centers?

Math centers are perfect for promoting a love of math in students. No student has fallen in love with math by doing worksheets with all math block or problem after problem. Math is all about asking questions and finding solutions. They always ask questions; why not allow them to do this in math? 

Math games also give those students anxious about math a fun and engaging way to solve math problems. Students are learning math skills in a fun way and not feeling nervous about not knowing the answer. They are just playing a game and having fun. If they get an answer wrong, it’s not a big deal, and they will get a chance to fix it during their next turn.

Ideas for Math Centers

There are so many fun games to play with your students that you can use all year long, but I will share my student’s top 3 favorite games that take very little time to prep.

Bump for Math Center

Bump is a fun game to play with any unit. However, I will use the skill two less to explain this game. In this game, there are numbers scattered all over the gameboard. There is a spinner as well. Students spin the spinner, and whatever number they land on, the student takes away two. Then they find the number on the board and put their counter on it. 

The next player spins and does the same thing. Let’s say the second player lands on a number covered by their opponent. They can bump their opponent’s counter off the board. 

However, if the player lands on a number they have a counter on, they can turn it over and lock it (meaning their opponent can’t bump it off the board). Students keep playing until all the counters have been locked. I have a bump game right here if you want to try it out! 

Write the Room or Scoot for Math Center

Write the Room is also referred to as Scoot. I love playing scoot with my kids! I usually start this activity as a whole group. Once they get the hang of it, Write the Room goes into a station. It’s straightforward to make and gets your kids up and walking around the room. Let’s face it; these kids need to move as much as possible! 🙂 

When I start teaching them how to play scoot, I have cards with one question about our unit. For example, if I am teaching geometry, one card may have shapes on it, and they have to figure out how many vertices there are. Another card may be asking what real-world shape the picture is. Students also have a recording sheet to write down their answers.

I usually put up anywhere from 10-20 cards around the room. I keep three or so cards for myself. The kids sitting on the carpet with the recording sheet in their hands. I showed them one of the cards I kept for myself and how to match the box on their recording sheet with the card in my hand. We review how to answer the question and write the answer on the recording sheet. 

I do this several times to ensure the students have the concept. Then, I show them how to walk around the room, focus on their paper, and not look at our friend’s paper. We practiced this whole activity as an entire group for the first few times. Once I know they have the hang of it and can do it without my help, I make it into a math station. My students love it, and it gets them up and moving!

If you are looking for Write the Rooms or Scoots already done, you can check them out here!

Pop-it Show Me 2 Ways for Math Center

This is a classic game where students use their fingers to show me ways to make a number. For example, I might give them the number 6. Then I ask them to show me another way to make 6. Students may show 6 and 0 or 4 and 2. 

This can be applied with Pop-it as well. Students can draw a card from a pile and then show it by popping bubbles in a row to indicate the number. For example, students may draw the number 8. They may pop 4 in one row and 4 in another row. Then students would have to show another my to make 8, for example, 5 and 3.

You can even have students write down their combinations if you need documentation. 

Benefits of Math Centers

As I stated before, math centers are perfect for promoting the love of math in students. Math is all about asking questions and finding solutions. This is entirely in your students’ wheelhouse. Honestly, they always ask questions; why not allow them to do this in math? Asking questions enriches your students’ experience with math and will enable them to go beyond standard thinking. Bump, Pop-it’s, and Write the Room are three quick and easy ways to engage students in math and keep them talking to each other.  

Math games also give those students who get anxious with math a fun and engaging way solve math problems. Students are learning math skills in a fun way and not feeling nervous about not knowing the answer. They are just playing a game and having fun. If they get an answer wrong, it’s not a big deal; they will get a chance to fix it during their next turn. Math games are an all-around engaging and fun way to turn your students into mathematicians!

What is your favorite math game that you like to play? Comment below with your favorite game!

Related Articles:

Use Pop-it’s to Add and Subtract with These Easy Steps

5 Math Games that are Fun and Engaging for Stations

Free Math Workshop Workbook

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Hi, I'm Meg!

I have ben teaching in the classroom for over 15 years! I love teaching math and finding new and engaging ways to teach my students.

When I am not teaching you can find me at Target, at a baseball game (GO Nats!), binge watching fun shows, or snuggling with my cats!

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