Math Learning Centers in the Primary Classroom

Math Centers

Math centers are the most engaging part of math time! Students are practicing their math skills independently and building their confidence with numbers. My students get so excited when we finish our whole group lesson and get to center time. They are able to practice those skills that I have taught and also get to engage with their peers and learn from each other.

There are many different stations that you can use in your math centers. I am going to show you the math stations that I use in my classroom. I usually keep it to four, because it makes it easier to meet with all of my groups twice a week (2 groups a day for about 10-15 minutes each). Each station is differentiated and very simple to set up. I am all about the low prep, high learning impact for students!  So in the next 4 sections, I will describe each station and how I use it in my classroom.


Math Games Center


This is one center that my students love! This station is interactive and it works on students’ social-emotional skills as well! With these games, I teach them either on a Monday to the whole class or as one of the Guided Math lessons. I go over how to play the game with them and we have a guided practice. Once they have learned how to play the game, it goes into the Math Game Center to play. The great thing about these games is that once we are done with the game after the week, I put it in the “Math Centers Review” bin. This is where I store all of my games I have taught them throughout the year. When they have finished with a Math center, they can simply go to the review bin and play a game that is in the bin! My students love playing games from other units we have had and it really keeps those skills up! 


Math Interactive Notebook Center


This is perfect for interactive notebooks. They are really engaging and are a hands-on approach for kids to show what they know about a math skill. You can see their thinking and it makes for a great informal assessment too! Also, I love putting all of their papers in their notebook, it saves from all those loose papers just flying around the room. It is also great for conferences or meetings. You can just grab their notebooks and show the progress of a student, and not have to worry about collecting samples for later. Once my students finish their activity I can simply go into their notebook and look at their responses and leave feedback they will see the next time they open their notebook. They love getting notes from me!  


Technology Math Center


This is another favorite of my students. In my classroom, I have 8 computers, which are perfect for stations. Each student is able to grab their own computer and work on a math skill. I have used such programs as Dreambox and ST Math. Since having gone through virtual learning, I have also integrated Google Interactive Slides and Pear Deck activities. There are so many different programs for the students to try! I also like using these stations for a quick informal assessment as well to see who understands certain math skills and who might need a little extra help or an extension. 


Guided Math with Teacher


The final center I have is Guided Math. This is where I meet with groups of students and go over skills with them. I might teach them a game, or have them work with manipulatives, etc. This is the time where I can really focus on extending a student’s understanding or focusing on skill mastery. This is also where I keep my anecdotal notes on each student to assess their understanding and clear up any confusion they may have. Each group I have usually had a different goal because it really is targeted instruction for each group. These groups of students change based on the pre-assessment I have for each unit. So for each new unit, students can be moved from one group to another, based on the mastery of a given skill. 


Math Centers are Fun

My students love math center time. It is a great way for them to explore math skills in a fun way. It is also great for me because, in a matter of 2 days, I have informal assessments from the Interactive Notebooks, the Technology Center, and the Guided Math Center as well. That is 3 different assessments in a matter of 2 days. This really gives me a true understanding of what each child understands and if there are any math skills that I need to revisit. 


If you want to learn more about how I run my math time, check out my Number Talks post

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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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