Archive for the ‘Math Centers’ Category

postheadericon Plus ou moins?

We have started looking at more and less in Math. For this activity you need objects of two different colours. I use my unfix blocks. I divide them up so I have multiple baskets of two different colours.  My kids sit in groups of 4, so I have one basket at each table.

Students first mark each side of the table on their paper with the two colours. Students will then take a handful of blocks. They then count and record how many they have of each colour block. I then get them to circle which one had more.




If you are using unifix blocks I suggest tell the students to not scoop up the blocks, otherwise they take way too many and the activity become too difficult. Also make sure all the blocks are broken up, or again they get way too many blocks.

plus ou moins

Get Plus ou Moins here.

postheadericon Counting eggs

I usually pull this math center out around Easter time. You can find those plastic eggs everywhere. The kids really love this centre cause they get to crack the eggs open. 

For this centre you need a dozen plastic eggs, some small objects (I use easter themed mini erasers), and the recording sheet. Each egg is labeled with a letter so the students know where to record their findings. I like to put everything in an egg carton just to make it look more authentic.

This centre is easy. Students pick an egg and crack it open. They dump out the contents and count. They then find the corresponding egg (using the letters) on their recording sheet, and write down the number of objects in that egg. All they are doing is counting and recording over and over, but they love it because they get to crack open an egg.

When I introduce this centre, we talk about how it is important to clean up the egg you just counted before you crack open a new egg.


You don’t have to use eggs for this activity.  Any container will do. I have another centre where I use different small objects in those small ziplock reusable containers. 


counting eggs

counting cups

Get the egg recording sheet here and the counting cup recording sheet here.

postheadericon Winter math centres

Snowmen sets

The dollar store always has these flat foam cutouts for every thinkable season/holiday which are great for making themed centres. These ones are snowmen. On their hat I have written a number. The students use buttons (or counters if you can’t find any buttons) and make a set to match the number on the hat. The kids love this because of the fun shapes, and I didn’t have to cut out or laminate anything which is always great.


Ginger bread towers

Christmas was so crazy that I didn’t get to post my centres, so I am posting a few now. Who says you can only have ginger bread men at christmas! Each student gets a gingerbread man and take turns rolling the dice. When they roll, they cover the corresponding representation on the ginger man. They can either just cover it up with one block/counter, or they could make a tower of the number the rolled. For example if they rolled a 4, they would find the 4 on the gingerbread man and cover it with tower made out of 4 blocks. You can find this game board here. There are lots of these kinds of roll and covers for different themes if you search online.


Roll and Cover

Here are some more roll and covers. I always look in the craft section or the seasonal section in the dollar story for different things I can use for counters for these games.  For the snowman roll and cover I use cotton balls and I found these santa hats for the christmas roll and cover. I get my roll and cover mats here and here.




Race to trace- Shape edition

I got this idea after we did the race to trace game for practicing our numeral. For this game students roll a shape dice and then trace the corresponding shape. The first one to trace all the shapes is the winner. For the shape dice I used these blank foam cubes I had, and I just draw on them using a permanent marker. You could also use the large dice that you can change the faces or make paper dice. You could also have them pull shapes from a bag, or use a spinner with shapes on it.


Number Printing practice

I bought these fish bowl printers years ago from scholars choice. Students trace and practice printing a number on one side, and then on the other side they represent the number using the foam fish.


postheadericon October and November Math Centres

I didn’t get to updated around Halloween because of all of the craziness, so my halloween themed centres are a little late being posted. However I only JUST changed them out and it is the mid November. The kids don’t care if they are still using Halloween centres a few weeks after the actual day, so I have been slowly replacing them one by one.

If you haven’t already, check out how I set up my math centres. Also check the menu on the side for more Math centres.

Here are newest math centres.

Roll, match,cover – Matching dice with numerals

I love Dollarama! I especially love the seasonal section as it is the perfect place to find things for math centers. Usually every holiday they have some kind of mini ersers that come in a pack of 30 or so. These are great to use as counters for your centres. It is amazing how students become engaged just by having a little mini pumpkin counter. In this centre, students roll the dice and then cover a matching numeral with counters. Get this pumpkin roll and cover here.


Ten frame fill up

I got these pumpkin ice cube trays at the grocery store last year after christmas for 14 cents each! They are great because they are shaped like a ten frame: five pumpkins on top and five on the bottom. Students take turns rolling a dice and filling up their ten frame. Who ever fills up the ten frame first gets a point. Then they start all over again. Whoever fills it up the most, wins! I used mini ghost erasers for this one and it was a big hit. You could also use a cut egg carton and different counters so you could use it all year long.


Roll and cover

I always have a roll and cover game in my math centres. It is always the same game, but I routinely change the pictures and the counters and the kids get all excited that they have a “new” centre. My Halloween one was pumpkins covered with mini pumpkin erasers. This week I changed it to my crown roll and cover. They use plastic jewels that I got in the craft section of the Dollarama to cover the pictures.

Basic Roll and Cover rules- Students take turns rolling a dice and then covering that many pictures with counters. First one to cover all the pictures win.

Go here and here for lots of different roll and covers mats.





Another great Dollarama find! I found these large foam domino sets about 8 years ago, and I was so smart to buy 15 sets because I haven’t seen them since. They are a lot easier for little hands to use and don’t make any noise when dropped. We use them to practice matching numerals as well as numbers in two parts. You can even use them as  “cards” for “Go fish”.

Here is how we play Dominoes in our classroom: Each student gets 5 dominoes. One domino is put out. Players try to match one side of their dominoes to one of the sides of the dominoes in play. Once one side of the domino is matched with another, it is out of play.If they can’t make a match they pick out one out of the bag. First one out of all their dominoes wins.



Pattern – Bears and Unifix trains

Students copy and they extend patters using teddy bear counters at one centre, and unifix cubes at another centre. I find I needed to give them a strip of long paper for the teddy bear centre otherwise they wouldn’t extend the pattern. I still might tweak this one a bit as even with the strip I have to remind them to extend the pattern.




Take a set

This is a take on the game I explained here, but instead of using a paper plate and two sided counters, I used a picture of a tree and leaf counters I got a target in the dollar section (so sad they closed down in Canada!). Each student has ten leaves on their tree. They roll the dice and then “steal” that many leaves from their partners tree. They go back and forth like this until someone gets all the leaves.  I got the tree background here from a different math centre that I never ended up using but the background was perfect for this centre change up. Once again, changing the background and counters of a old game makes it brand new again.




Mr Potato Head

The kids were so excited when I brought this one out. Students roll the dice and add the body parts according to the legend provided. First one to have all the parts win. Get Mr Potato head here.


Dot card memory

I love dot cards. You can use them for so many things. I use the Vanderwall blackline master dot cards. I printed off a class set of them of on cardstock and they are still going strong. This week we are playing memory. Students spread them out facedown and take turns turing two over at a time trying to make pairs. They are also great for “Go Fish” and for “War”.




postheadericon More Math Centres

Now that the students have got the math center routine down, I have added a few more so that we now have 10 different centres. Here are the ones I have added.

Pattern Block Numbers

Students use the pattern blocks to make the numerals. I got the numeral cards here.


Pattern Block Pictures

Similar to the above centre, students use pattern blocks to make the pictures. I have bought a few sets of these with magnetic pattern blocks, but I have also found many online. Try here, here and here.


Number Flags

This is an easy one to put together. On pipe cleaners add masking tape at the top to make a flag and write a number from 1-10 on the flag. Students then use beads to make a set corresponding to the number. I make 2 sets of flags from 1-1o, so each partner can do all 10.


Linking Numbers

Students use links (or paper clips) to match the different representations of the numbers. You could also use these cards for a memory game. Get the cards here and here.



We are starting patterning next week so I will replace some of my dice games with pattern centres next week.

postheadericon Math centre set up

This year is the first time I have been enough on the ball to set up my math centres this early in the year. First round of centres are set up and the kids loved them. I thought I would explain a bit how I run my math centres.

I loosely follow Debbie Diller’s model of math stations. I saw her speak at a conference a few years ago and she was wonderful. Although I don’t do exactly what she does, her book is a great starting point. And most importantly she introduced me to the best idea that revolutionized my centres….


You might think this will make things more difficult as you will need more centres, but I am here to tell you things are so much easier. Yes I have to have 10 centres (20 kids), but I hardly have to deal with any behaviour management with 2 students. Also it takes two whole weeks (or more if I don’t do centres every day) to get through all the centres, so I don’t have to change them as often. Especially since after a few years of doing centres like this I have realized ….


Since it takes the student two weeks to get through one round of the centres, it isn’t a big deal if they repeat some on the second round. This allows me to switch them one at a time at my leisure. Most of my centres are math activities we have already done in class, so they need minimal explanation when I integrate them into my centres


A few of my bins broke and I couldn’t find a new set of drawers that matched my old ones. I’m waiting for them to go on sale so I can replace them all and they can all match again.


So here is my  centre layout and the first few centres we are doing. My math centres are housed in these plastic drawers. They are great because the kids can just slide them out and take the whole drawer with them, and then slide them back in when they are done. Each drawer is filled with everything they need to do the centre.




I’ve tried a few different things for centre organization but this number system has worked the best for me. I just move the students name down each day to the next number. Students find their name and then go get the drawer with the corresponding number. So simple and easy!


Here is this round of centres:

Take a set 

Students have 10 counters on their plate. They roll their dice and then take that many from their partner’s plate and put it on their own. This goes on back and forth until someone has all the counters. Great counting practice!


Tall towers

Students roll the dice and make towers. Once they filled all the squares they put all their towers together to see who has the tallest tower. Later in the year you can use two dice, or compare each tower to look at how many more/less. The kids love this one. Download this centre here.


Race to trace

Students roll the dice and then trace the corresponding number on their sheet (love sheet protectors and dry erase markers!). First one to fill their sheet wins. I got the race to trace sheet here and just removed the English writing so I could use it in a French Immersion classroom.


race to trace

Roll and cover

I love this game because you can use it all year, and if you just change the picture or the counters every once and awhile the kids think it is a new game. Students roll then cover the corresponding number of squares. First one to cover the whole page wins. I get my roll and covers here and here. So much variety.


Playdoh mats

I have two Play-doh centres at the moment. One is cover the number, and the other is make sets with the Play-doh. Halloween Playdoh was on sale at Costco so black Playdoh it is! Get the playdoh mats here and here.





As it the beginning of the year instead of doing 10 different centres, I am just doing 2 sets of 5 centres. I spent all last week actually doing these activities with the students in math class, so nothing was new to them. Over the next few weeks I will add some more new ones until I have 10 different ones. Once again, it is okay if they do a centre again. With this many centres they will only be doing the same one twice a month. It is a lot of dice games right now but as we get going their will be more of a variety of activities. Right now I just want to get them used to the format.

postheadericon Number representations

I have this table printed out and laminated in all my math centres. It is also on my mini offices.

Click the image below to download number representation table

number representations

postheadericon Shape Mittens

I have these plain foam cubes that I use as dice. I just draw on with sharpie marker what I want. For this activity I have made some shape dice. You could also use the dice that have the clear pockets that you can slide in cards into make customized dice. 

Students each have a sheet. They take turn rolling the dice and place a counter on the matching shape mitten. First one to fill their whole sheet wins.

shape mittens

Get the shape mitten here.

postheadericon Shape Mats

I got these shape mats here and edited them so the shape words were French. Students use playdoh too fill in the shapes.


Click to download the triangle and circle mat.

Click to download square and rectangle mat

Click here to download the oval and star mat

Click here to download the heart and rhombus mat