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Monday 25 June 2012

Place Value game and Maths Tubs

Just wanted to share a pic of my kids playing my place value game Higher or Lower (available at my TpT store.)  They really enjoy playing this game when we do maths tubs and they can be quite competitive.  It is great to be a "fly on the wall" and listen to the strategies they use to work out if they can make a higher or lower number.  The students in this pic are in grade 3 so they are using 4 dice, but I also have students that are in grade 2 and only use 2 or 3 dice.

I have just started using maths tubs in my room this year as an explicit teaching component,  I used to do it as rotational activities. 
This year because of programs that I have to fit into my classroom as a school expectation I have changed my math routine a bit. 
So my maths sessions look a bit like this:
  • Maths Mentals, in a 2/3 class it can be a bit tricky to challenge the more advanced students while allowing the less able children the chance to achieve.  I have also been bored out of my brain with Maths Mentals.  Most of the other classes use Maths Mentals text books but I like to be able to have a focus on what is going on in the classroom, so this is what I have done to "fun" it up.
Using the IWB I have made a slide for each day of the week
Multiplication Monday
Tricky Tuesday
Wacky Word Problem Wednesday
Thinking Thursday 
Fun Facts Friday
On the slide I put the questions on a flip button with a timer, so all I have to do is set it up for the week and put the timer on.  The students love to flip the question to get the answer.
For each day I will put a variety of quick problems across the strands so even though it may be Wacky Word Problem Wednesday I will have measurement, geometry or number problems.
  • Next is a 10 minute game- usually related to number (this is following the TEN-Teaching Early Numeracy program)
  • Whole class lesson on a concept
  • Whole class independent practice (sometimes this is from their text book), with a small group withdrawn for support or extra instruction.
  • Maths Tubs for the last 20 minutes of the lesson- I have 6 tubs that are related to the Strands from our curriculum.  Number, Operations, Measurement, Patterns and Algebra, Space and Geometry and Chance and Data.  These are independent activities and I take this time to observe the groups and make notes.  
It is great to see that the students actually cheer when I say time for Maths Tubs and I know that I am able to cover all strands in every group each week.  The kids like the structure and I like that their is variety in my groupings and the students have a chance to learn in many different ways.
I would love to hear from others on how they run their maths sessions.


  1. I love hearing about how everyone does math. I'm trying to incorporate small group teaching in Math this next year, and want to make sure I hit all of my strands in center practice each week. Great inspiration.

    I just started blogging in May- I admit to not really having a clue as to what I'm doing. I press on though- ever forward.

    1. Thanks, math is not my strongest teaching ability so I try to make it as hands on and fun as I can. I am just about to go and check out your blog!

  2. Do you change the activities in the maths tubs every week? I'm new to year 3 this year and I've been struggling with offering some meaningful self directed activities without a huge effort every weekend to set them up. I'd love to know how you manage this in your classroom. Congratulations on starting your blog! I'm still at the "maybe one day" stage.

    1. Hi Karen,
      I am pretty flexible with how often I change what is in the tubs. Some tubs might have 3 activities in them so I only change them every 3 weeks, these are usually open ended activities such as card games or dice games. Sometimes I will only put 1 activity in a tub eg a graphing activity in the Chance and Data tub- so they have to do that activity. I would change that once the rotations are finished. Once you get a good stash of resources going you work out what works in the tubs and what doesn't. Oh the other thing I had to REALLY be prepared for was the noise level. I like to have a quiet classroom but this does create meaningful noise so I put up with it. I find it quite easy to be prepared now- I just have a term plan for what I will be offering and I also repeat activities because we only do this for 15 - 20 minutes each day and we only cover 1 rotation a day at the end of independent work. Sometimes its good for students to get another go at an activity. They don't seem to get bored with it. (:

  3. great ideas! Thanks for sharing!