February 26, 2020 3-5-number-and-operations-in-base-10, k-2-counting-and-cardinality, k-2-number-and-operations-in-base-10, k-2-geometry, 3-5-geometry
5 Math Activities that Promote Collaborative Learning in the Classroom
By: Jeff Todd
Getting students to interact in the classroom is the call, and at the same time, it’s a challenge for our lesson planning! Collaborative math activities in the classroom can help students move forward along their learning trajectories… and it can be fun! That’s why I’ve put together a set of five downloadable collaborative math activities for you to use in your elementary classroom.
Recommendations for Collaborative Learning Activities
There’s a lot of research about collaborative student play in the earliest grades and how it can be used to help students develop math concepts. A recent article (Ramani & Eason, 2015) has five recommendations to follow if you are looking to put together games or activities for younger students, and I think these activities can be extended through upper elementary school as well:
Seek out playful curricula—you’ll see that the collaborative math activities provided here will be fun for students.
Think outside the (game) box-—I used the matching game “Concentration” and gave it a geometric twist to help students develop vocabulary. The game known as “Go Fish” has been modified to reinforce math content.
What happens in math class doesn't have to stay in math class—tie games to other topics in the curriculum and in the “real world.”
Peers are a valuable resource—students get engaged in activities and will help each other, and competition can be used in a healthy way to motivate students.
Engage parents, and make connections between the classroom and home-—the collaborative math activities in this post would be great to introduce at a parent night.
Collaborative Learning Encourages Social-Emotional Skills
One of the things that you find when looking for games and activities on the Internet is that you get a lot of hits for “computer games.” While computer games are handy and help students learn and practice math content on their own, collaborative math activities also help students practice their social-emotional skills as they interact with each other. So, the math activities below will promote “old fashioned” collaboration between students where they can practice their social-emotional skills:
Math Activities That Promote Student Collaboration in the Classroom
I use these collaborative math activities in all kinds of situations. That’s the great thing about them! They are well-suited for:
A station or activity center as part of a rotation
An early finisher activity
A choice-time activity
A family night activity
Collaborative Math Activity: Geometry Concentration
Have students work together to practice matching basic geometry vocabulary terms with their corresponding geometric figures. Download everything you need to start playing the Geometry Concentration Game in your classroom. This ready-to-go activity for Kindergarten through Grade 3 contains four sets of cards. Included you'll find:
- Basic Set
- Basic Set, Shapes in the Real-World
- Advanced Set
- Advanced Set, Shapes in the Real-World
The basic sets are appropriate for every student in the early grades. The advanced sets are appropriate for above-average students in Grades 1 or 2 and for any Grade 3 student.
Collaborative Math Activity: Make-A-Ten Go Fish
This collaborative “Go Fish” game perfect for the early grades when students are learning about ten pairs. To get playing, you'll need a deck of cards and my printable instructions.
Collaborative Math Activity: Tic-Tac-Toe Math
Download the Tic-Tac-Toe Math Game, which is appropriate for any grade level. It is a fun and interactive way to review for an upcoming exam or to practice a new math skill! It also fosters social-emotional learning in the classroom through cooperation and teamwork.
Collaborative Math Activity: Math Land Game Boards
There are different downloadable Math Land Game Boards for each grade, from Grade 1 to Grade 6. Students can practice their computational skills as they move along the path. Each group will need colored counters and a die to roll to play this board game.
Collaborative Math Activity: Candy Bar Fractions
Download this sorting activity where students sort candy-bar fractions by comparing them to the benchmarks of zero, one-half, and one whole. Use this activity with the upper elementary grades or as an enrichment activity for younger accelerated students.
These five easy-to-use math activities are great for fostering collaborative learning in your classroom. You can use them in a variety of ways. In addition to being fun and engaging when used as all-class activities, they can be used in math centers, as early finisher activities, or at a family night.
Download these activities today and you will be on the way to seeing students interact as they learn in your classroom!
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Ramani, Geetha B., and Sarah H. Eason. "It all adds up learning early math through play and games." Phi Delta Kappan, May 2015, p. 27. Expanded Academic ASAP,http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A412800569/EAIM?u=mlin_n_stevens&sid=EAIM&xid=6921eac9. Accessed 14 May 2018.