A Math Christmas Activity – Christmas Card

This is a great math activity for the holiday season. It is also great for any math level/content area. The added bonus is that it is very quick to create! This activity would fit in one class period in middle or high school (43-50 minutes).

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Step 1 (this is probably the longest step):

You need to find a Christmas card online that is funny and appropriate for students. You could also buy Christmas cards at Hallmark, Walmart, etc. A third option would be to have students design a funny Christmas card as a group. You could collect them and use them for this activity. You need one card per group. (I will have at most 8 groups with students working in groups of 3-4). You could use the same card for each group or a different one for each group.

A couple of options that I found online:

Step 2: You need math problems for students to solve. You need enough to take the allotted amount of time that you want this to fit in. I will make this take one class period (43 minutes). Students will be reviewing domain/range, evaluating inputs and outputs from a function. I will have 8 different problem sets for students to complete.  I need one puzzle piece for each different problem set. Therefore, I will need to cut my Christmas cards into 8 different pieces.

Where are you going to find these problems? They could be problems from your book, a worksheet you find online, a worksheet that came with your book, etc.


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Step 3: Cut your cards into the amount of problems students will solve. If they are doing 10 problems, you need 10 pieces. If they are doing 5 problems, you need 5 pieces.

Note: you need one card per group. I will have students complete this in groups of 3 to 4. I will place each group’s card into a Ziploc bag, number it (1-8 since I have 8 groups), and hang it in my room.  Each group will have a number at their desk which corresponds to their bag.


They will solve a math problem, I will check it. If it is correct, they will be able to choose a puzzle piece from their bag. They will repeat these steps until they have earned all of their puzzle pieces. Once they have all of their pieces, they will need to put their puzzle together. The first team to accomplish this will win a prize.


What is your favorite holiday activity to use in your room? Please share by commenting below. Want more ideas like this? Click here to join our list. 





Three Thanksgiving Activities for any Math Classroom

iThis week, we are practicing math by playing Thanksgiving games. We play a week’s worth of games for all major activities. During Halloween, we did a murder mystery, Dem Bones, What’s for Dinner.

I’m really excited to share with you our Thanksgiving activities. These are great for all math levels and can be used with any math content!

Do you want a three-part video series with these activities? Click here. 


ACTIVITY 1:  Find my Feathers

This activity is great for any math content and at any math level.

This is the bald turkey used for the activity. Students hooked feathers to this as they collected them.

First, I copied and laminated the turkey above for each group. I had students working in groups of 3-4. Next, I made feathers out of construction paper. I had 8 different color feathers, enough for each group to have a set.

Next, I created a problem set for each color feather. There was a red feather set, yellow, green, blue, etc.  I placed one problem set at each group of 4 desks.

For each color feather, I wrote a clue for students to find their feather in our room. For example, the yellow feather clue read, “Find your yellow feather where you can turn in your late work.” Students received their clue only after showing me their work for the yellow problem set.

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Activity 2:  Turkey Target

Students solved math problems to be able to throw a rubber duck at different sized turkey targets. I placed a masking tape line they had to stand behind to make their throw. The smaller the target, the more points they earned. The group with the most points at the end won a prize.

This is one of the rubber ducks we used. They are all Thanksgiving themed.

Want this activity in a three-part video series?  Click Here.


Activity 3: Four Key

This is connect four Thanksgiving style. Warning, your students will LOVE this game! Great with any content and any grade level.

First, to make the connect four board, take a large piece of paper, fold it in half four times. Draw in the lines created with a Sharpie.

Second, split your class into two groups, place half of your desks on one side of the room and half on the other side. Place your game board in the middle.

To play, give students a math problem to solve and enough time to work it out with their group. If they are correct, they send one representative to the game board. They play a round of rock, paper, scissors. The winner chooses whether they want to make their move first or second. Repeat these steps until you have a winner. Note, for the winning round, I play best out of three for rock, paper, scissors and I allow them to send up anyone from their team. All other rounds, they have to send up someone new.

Want a video series that includes all of these games that your students are going to love? Click Here. 

The Pumpkin Toss – A Halloween Math Game

How to play the great pumpkin toss! I will be dressing up to math all of my Halloween activities. For this activity, I have you guessed it, a pumpkin costume.


  • 45-50 minute class period

Materials Needed:

  • 5 plastic pumpkins
  • Candy
  • Plastic spiders to throw or other object to throw

The ones shown are $1.49 at Party City.


Do you want a three-part video series for Holiday activities, click here!


Teacher Directions:

  • Purchase 5 plastic pumpkins such as the ones shown below.
    • Note, I purchased 5 different colors to make it more colorful in my room.

  • Place candy inside each pumpkin.
    • Note, I used cheaper candy inside the closest pumpkins to the line.
  • Place pumpkins in a row.
  • Use masking tape to draw a line on the ground students have to stay behind.
  • Give students a set of problems to solve.


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Student Directions:

  • Solve a math problem.
  • Check answer with teacher.
  • If answer is correct, throw plastic spider at pumpkins.
  • If spider lands in a pumpkin, you win a piece of candy from that pumpkin.
  • Repeat previous steps until class is over.


Click here for more Halloween activities!

Connect 4

How to play connect four in math

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Connect 4

How to play connect four with your math class?


Teacher Directions: 

  • To make the game board - Take a large sheet of paper, fold it in half, in half and in half a third time. Unfold and trace the lines created with a black sharpie.  Should look like the picture below.





  • Split class into two equal groups.
  • Separate desks to the sides of the room and place the game board on the ground in the middle.
  • Give students a problem to solve and set a timer. During this time, they are able to work with anyone on their team.
    • Note, I have students solve the problems on personal whiteboards.
  • Check every student's answer. If the entire group is correct, take a volunteer from each group.
  • Students who come up will play rock/paper/scissors.
    • Note, during round 1, I let the winner choose which marker their team would like to use. For connect for fall, we had two different leaves. See below:

Connect 4 Fall Edition

  • Whichever team wins the rock/paper/scissors battle also decides if they would like to be the first or second team to make a move on the game board.
  • We continue solving problems, playing rock/paper/scissors until one team wins.


This is a great game to play around holidays with students. The picture above shows the version for Connect Four Fall edition. We also played Connect Fourkey at Thanksgiving and Connect Hearts for Valentine's Day.



Please comment with any questions. If you would like more game ideas, click here. 


How to play movement bingo

B9, B9 and we slowly mark B9 on our Bingo board. This is not the bingo found in your local VFW hall. This is Bingo with a PE twist!


Want more game ideas, click here!


Teacher Directions:

  • Type the problems that you want to use in the game below. Copy these problems, enough for students in groups of 2-4. Use a different color paper for each group if possible.
  • Cut out all of the problems. Place the problems in an envelope or Ziploc bag. Write a different number on each envelope or bag.
  • Place your desks tables into groups of 2-4. Give each group of desks a number. Then hang their problems across from their location in the room.
  • Type the answer to each problem in the center of a page. Use one page per answer.
  • Print the answers on 11×14 paper. Place these problems in the center of the room as a bingo board. You can have more or fewer problems than I have but they need to make a square. To win bingo students need to have solved correctly all of the problems horizontal, vertical or diagonal on the board.
  • Copy the movement page, cut them apart and give each group one of the movements. You can change these to anything you want but need one per group. I had students change their movements every 2-3 minutes by rotating clockwise amongst the groups in the room.


Student Directions:

  • With your group, doing your movement, move across the room to your team’s bag of problems. Take out one problem and doing your movement move back to your desks.
  • Solve your problem.
  • With your group, doing your movement, move to the bingo board and place your problem on its corresponding answer on the bingo board.
  • Repeat the previous three steps until you have achieved bingo – you have all problems marked horizontally, vertically or on a diagonal.
  • Repeat the first three steps until you have super bingo – the entire board filled.


Student movements: These can be changed to any movement. You need one per group.

  • Walking Lunge
  • Grapevine
  • Hop on one Foot
  • Zombie
  • Moonwalk
  • Skip
  • Monkey
  • Penguin
  • Train
  • Hop Side to Side

Modification:  Give each student group a dance move!

  • Dab
  • Electric Slide
  • Whip and Nae Nae
  • Running Man
  • Shopping Cart
  • Etc.


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Holiday Math Activities

Holidays are a crazy time in my life both at school and home. I’m busy at every holiday trying to get ready to celebrate with my own family and this is also the time my students decide to be extra WILD and full of energy.

Last year, I decided to capitalize on this extra energy. For every major holiday, we did five activities in math.

A sample of the activities we did last year!


  • Domain and Range from graphs – I copied bats, witches, ghosts, and ghouls onto graph paper. Then students found the domain and range.

This year, I have a new activity planned and I’m SUPER excited. I’m calling it, “What’s For Dinner.” I have been saving all of my Costco boxes. I am going to spray paint these boxes black and bedazzle them with cobwebs. Inside, I am going to put in peeled grapes (these will be eyeballs), licorice peels (rat tails), etc. Click the image below for a copy of this activity:

Free Halloween Activity – What’s For dinner


Valentine’s Day: 

  • Earn the Points – I had problems on hearts and students had to earn enough points for the day. The more complicated the problem, the more points it was worth.

My favorite Holidays are Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had some GREAT activities for Christmas.


  • Ugly Sweater Party – We had an ugly sweater party where students performed their rewritten Christmas carol with math. I sang, “Have yourself an arithmetic sequence.” While students performed, we sipped hot cocoa and ate treats that students brought in.


  • Thanksgiving Dinner – I purchased some cheap Thanksgiving plates from Walmart. Students had to solve a math problem on potatoes, turkey, sweet potatoes and other holiday favorites. They stapled them to their plates once I had checked them. In the center of their plate, I had them write something they were thankful for.

Want my Halloween Activity, what’s for dinner? Click here.


How do you celebrate the holidays in your classroom?

Free Active Math Resource Library

As a teacher, I am always looking for new teaching ideas; however, I don’t have hours and hours to create lessons. We’ve created a collection of free active math activities that can be used with any math content level and are also quick (under 10 minutes) to create!  Access our library by clicking the image below.


Cut It Up: This activity is great for a station, warm-up or exit ticket.

Cut it Out

This is a flip book. There is a problem which students open to reveal the answer.


Lay It Out: Do you teach a math concept that follows a process? 

If you teach math, the answer to the above question is yes. Lay it out uses notecards to have students look for the pattern in the process. You write out each step on a note card and students place the process in order.


Are you feeling Lucky Game? This game could be used with any math concept/topic. Best is that it can be played with any worksheet or problem set from the book. Students solve problems, then place their group name on a number in a spreadsheet. Based on how many problems you think they will complete, you decide on which numbers to use in the spreadsheet.

Do you want directions/videos for the games on I am describing then click here.


Envelope Activity: Place students into groups of 3 or 4. Write a math problem on the outside of the envelope. Inside the envelope place paper or graphs for them to complete the problem. Students will take a paper out of the envelope, work out the problem and put their solution back in the envelope. They rotate their envelopes clockwise, take out a sheet of paper, solve the new problem and place their solution back in the envelope. They continue this process until they have their initial envelope back. Once they have their original envelope, they take out all of the papers and check everyone’s solution. If there are any that are different, they discuss the error as a group. This is great for error analysis and the math practice involving critiquing the reasoning of others.


Bucket of Lies: Solve math problems incorrectly, make copies of your work and place them into a bucket. Have students work in groups of 2-4. They will take out a problem, find the error and discuss how to correct it. This is an activity that you could do with every chapter. Use the errors you are seeing on formative assessments to help them prepare for their summative.


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Algebraic Proofs + Converting from standard form to slope-intercept form

This week in Algebra 1, we are doing stations. Our stations will involve Algebraic Proofs as well as converting from standard form to slope-intercept form. If you would like a copy of these stations, click here.

Station 1:  Algebraic Proof Envelopes

I’ve type statements and reasons for algebraic proofs. I will cut them apart and place them into an envelope. Students will place the steps/reasons in the appropriate order to complete the proof.


Station 2:  Algebraic Proof with Sleeves

Students will fill in the missing steps for proofs. They begin with only reasons missing. Then have steps and reasons. Finally, they have to write an entire proof on their own. They will have to complete the Algebraic proof envelopes first.


Station 3:  Bucket of Lies

This is an error analysis station. They will have to identify and correct my errors.


Station 4:  SAT Practice 

They will have to complete two practice SAT type questions.


Station 5: You Try It 

This is online practice through the website IXL.


Station 6: Write It 

This station involves writing in words how to convert from standard form to slope-intercept form.


If you would like a copy of these stations, please click here. I will share with you a 30-page pdf. It includes stations, directions and answer keys for each station.


What are your favorite activities to incorporate into stations?


sum it - a quadratic activity

Three FREE activities for Solving Equations

We begin the year with a review of solving equations and proportions.  When we are just doing non-contextual math and practicing skills, I love to play games. We have already done three activities (Head’s Up/Sum It/4 Quadrant Game/Match It/Sort It)


If you would like a copy of these three solving equations activities, click here. You can use these activities right away. I’ve provided both teacher/student directions along with the problems or vocabulary words I used.

Head’s Up Vocabulary (great for every unit) – students love this!

Description of Activity: One student will hold the vocabulary word to his/her head while the other students gives clues. Once they guess the word, they place it down and pick up another word. This continues until no word remains. Then they can shuffle words and switch roles.

  • Note: You can give a specific amount of time or have them play until all group members have done both roles (guesser/clue giver).

Teacher Directions:

  • Copy words onto different colored paper if possible.
    • Make enough copies for students to work in groups.
  • Give each pair of students one set of words.
    • Note: give groups of students next to each other different colors. When they drop a word, you will know which set it belongs to.
  • You can have each student go through all the words, or split the words in half.

Student Directions:

  • Decide who is going to start in each role.
    • Guesser
    • Clue giver
  • Guesser: Take a vocabulary word from your pile and hold it to your forehead. Don’t look at the word.
  • Clue Giver:  Give verbal or written clues until your partner guesses the correct word.
  • Continue your role until no words remain.
  • Switch roles then play again.

Sum IT Activity

Teacher Directions:

  • Place students into groups of 4.
  • Have students decide who is person A, who is person B, who is person C and who is person D.


Student Directions:

  • Solve the problem that corresponds to your letter for problem set #1
  • Add all of your solutions together.
  • Check your sum with your teacher.
  • Repeat previous three steps until you are finished with all problems.


Four Quadrant Game

Step 1: Take a large piece of paper, fold it in half and in half again. Then trace your lines with a dark marker to make the coordinate plane.

  • Note:  I added in an asymptote and a growth function; however, you don’t need these.

If you want the full game along with the other two activities, click now. 


Students will place equations with variables on both sides into different categories (no solution, one solution, infinite solutions).

Match It

Students solve equations with distributing and match their solutions to them. If you are worried about students guessing, you can have them solve all of the equations then give them solutions to match.


If you want a copy of all of these activities, https://themathmentors.mykajabi.com/pl/7091.


I hope you and your students enjoy THEM.  Please comment with any questions!


What’s your focus for the 2017-2018 school year?

Every year, I choose a focus as I start the school year. My focus for this year is going to be REAL MATH. I want to really show my Algebra students how what they are learning applies to real life.

I took a graduate school class over the summer which was based in STEM. Our final project was to take a course we teach and find at least two activities per unit that were STEM related. I chose Algebra 1.


During my research, I find some really great resources. I already knew about Dan Meyer. We will be doing the stacking cups activity within the next two weeks, we are currently in a unit on solving equations.  STACKING CUPS  Activity.


I also found some other great activities which are all included in my 29 page pdf. All activities are linked to common core standards and math practices.


If you would like a copy of my report, click here: https://themathmentors.mykajabi.com/pl/6477