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4 Cool Math Center Activities to Practice For Addition and Subtraction

Math games are the best! Many excellent math center activities practice addition and subtraction. They are great because students love playing math games, and it gets them talking to each other about math in a fun way. 

In this post, I will share with you five math center activities that you can use to practice addition and subtraction. 

Now, before I get into the nitty-gritty of establishing your guided math section, 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!

Math Centers that are Fun

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 anxious students 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.

So I will share with you four games you can use in your math centers to engage your Kindergartener and first graders!

Fun Math Center with Cards

This math center activity is building numbers. This is an excellent way for students to practice making numbers using manipulatives. You just need erasers, cubes, pop-its, counters; you name it tens frames (if you’d like), and number cards. Have students draw a card and make it in many different ways. For example, if a student draws a 10, they can show that number using five red and blue counters. They could also show it using four red and six blue counters; the list goes on. The goal of this activity is for students to see that there are many ways to show a number, making number-sense routines easier as the unit and the year progress. 

Fun Math Center with Dice

Roll and Graph is a straightforward game for students to use in math centers. They just need graph paper with the numbers 2-12 on the bottom (or 1-11 for subtraction) and dice. When a student rolls the dice, they add the dice together; then they find the number on the graph paper, and they can use either color in the graph or write the number on the chart. I prefer my students to write the number because they need practice with number formation, so this is a sneaky way to get that in.

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Fun Math Centers with Pop-it’s

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

This can be applied with Pop-its 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.

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

Roll and Pop To…  is another simple game. All you need is a Pop-it and dice. This is great for teaching counting. They start with rolling a die and popping the number they rolled, for example, 4. Then students roll the die again and say, for example, “I have 4. I rolled 3, now I have 7.” Students continue until they have popped all of the bubbles.

Once they have done this, they can start counting backward by rolling the dice and subtracting. For example, they can say, “I started with 24, took away 3, now I have 21.”

You can differentiate this by having students use two or three dice and adding or subtracting using those dice. 

Fun Math Center with Dominoes

There are several ways to incorporate dominoes into your math centers. You just need dominoes, and you are ready to go. Split the dominoes between the players. Then the first student plays their first domino. They add up all their dots, which would be the points they would get for that round. For example, they have a domino with three dots on top and two on the bottom; the first student would have 5 points. The second student would need to find a dot that matches one of the first student’s dots (for example, a three or a 2). Then the second student would add their dots, which would be their points in that round. When the game is done, you could have them add their points to see who won if you wanted to add a challenge.

You can also play war with the dominoes. For example, students one and two would draw a domino each and then add the dots (or subtract the dots), and whoever has the most dots wins both dominoes. Students would continue until one student had all of the dominoes. 

Math Center Activities to Practice For Addition and Subtraction 

Math games are the best! Many excellent math center activities practice addition and subtraction. They are great because students love playing math games, and it gets them talking to each other about math in a fun way.

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 anxious students 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.

 So next time you plan math games, try Pop-its, dominoes, dice, and cards!

Comment below with your favorite math center you like to do with your students!

Related Articles:

Use Addition and Subtraction Math Centers Like a Rockstar

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

Addition and Subtraction Number Talks to 10

Addition and Subtraction Number Talks to 20

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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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