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.

3 Responses to “Math centre set up”

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.