You and your students will catch "math fever" with these exciting ideas!
Send children on a "number hunt" for homework. Have them make a list (or draw pictures) of everything in their house that has a number on it. This will certainly increase their awareness of how we use math in the home.
Ask children to interview their parents to find out how they use math in their job. It's a great way to encourage dialog with children and their parents, and also reinforces that math is something we will USE all our lives!
Here's a "quickie" math game similar to "rock, scissors, paper" that you can play if you have a few minutes. Each child will need a partner. Children hold up one palm. Make a fist with the other hand and place it on the palm. Say, "Fist, fast, math" as they tap their fist on the palm twice. The third time they stick out any number of fingers they choose from zero through five. They add their fingers with their partner and say the answer. If they agree, they continue with the game. If they disagree, they have to work it out. (Adapt this game by having children use two fists or by having them multiply their fingers.)
Slap thighs on the odd numbers and clap hands together on the even numbers.
Clap as you count and then jump up every time you get to another ten.
For expanded notation, have children listen as you snap for tens and clap the ones. For example: "Snap, snap, snap, clap" = 31. Add hundreds by stomping your feet, thousands by jumping, and so on.
Clap or snap a pattern. Have children repeat it. What will come next? Can they identify if it is AB, AAB, ABC, etc?
Use this rhythmic activity to reinforce math facts. The teacher slowly snaps fingers and says a math problem:
Four (children say the answer as they snap)
Continue calling out math facts as children respond with the answer.
Bring in grocery store coupons and have the children cut them out. Next, ask the children to sort them by value. Can they add them up? How much would they save? What would happen on double coupon day?
Have children go through a grocery store flyer and add up how much it would cost to buy dinner for their family.
Bring in a flyers from Wal-Mart, Target, etc. for the children. What's the most expensive item? What's the least expensive? What would they buy if they had $1? $5? $20? $100? Play "The Price Is Right" as children try to guess the price of various items.
Sing this song to the tune of "Lassie and Laddie" as children make the shapes with a crayon on paper.
Can you make a circle, a circle, a circle?
Can you make a circle so nice and round?
Can you make a triangle. . . with three straight sides?
Can you make a square. . . with four equal sides?
Can you make a rectangle. . . with two long and two short sides?
Divide children into groups of four and challenge them to lay on the floor and make the shapes with their bodies. Take photographs of the children making the shapes and put them together to make a book for your class. Hint! Trace over each body shape with a highlighter to make the exact shape.
Give each child a 3' piece of string or yarn. Can they make an open curve? Closed curve? A straight line? An oval? The numeral 6? Give each child 12 popsicle sticks. Can you make a square? How many squares can you make? Can you make a triangle? How many triangles can you make? Can you make a rectangle? Diamond?
Children will be excited to measure with a bean counter. Lay a 12" piece of clear packaging tape on a table with the sticky side up. Lay ten large, dry lima beans end to end in the middle of the tape. (Write the numerals 1-10 on the beans if you desire with a fine tip marker.) Fold the bottom of the tape up and the top of the tape down to seal in the beans. Trim off the ends. Children measure "how many beans long" different objects are. Can you find something one bean long? Five beans long? How many beans long is the room? (Paper clips can also be used to make a similar instrument children can use for measurement.)
You will need a 9"x 12" piece of corrugated cardboard and a butterfly clip to make a clipboard for each child in your classroom. After demonstrating how to tally, let them take their clip boards and count books in the room, blocks, chairs, and so on. Next, have children make a T-chart on their clip boards and collect "data." Let them decide what they would like to collect data on. You could tie it in with a unit (Do you like dogs or cats?), sports events (Who will win March Madness?), favorite food (Do you like cheese pizza or pepperoni?), and so on. Children collect their data on the bus, in their home, neighborhood etc. When they bring their data back to school, tally results on the board.
A Pringle's can or icing can and poker chips are all you'll need to make this game. Write the numerals 1-25 (or however many children there are in your room) on the chips. Cut a 2"x _" slit in the lid and insert the chips inside. When it's time to line up, pass the can around and have each child select a chip. The person with "l" on their chip lines up, followed by the child with "2," and so on. (The child with "1" could collect the chips as the other children line up.)