Here’s one way to make math facts fun…
During the K-2 years, our introduction to math and exploration of numbers involved A LOT of games. This one using dominoes is easy to do and can be used with different ages and stages!
- White board/pens OR scratch paper/pencil
Dominoes are placed face down between two (or more) players. When my daughter was younger, I’d select only dot patterns representing smaller numbers 1-5. As she grew older, I’d take out the easy ones and slip in some higher numbers.
Each player draws a domino from the pile, keeping it hidden from the other person. We set up a large book as a barricade between us.
Next, we use the dot pattern on our domino to write an equation and solve it. The person with the highest number wins one point.
First person to 10 points wins (or whatever cut-off you choose).
THE TWIST – STEALING A POINT:
If one player catches a mistake in the other player’s calculations, then that player wins the point even if their sum was lower. I made this rule so my daughter would not only be solving her own equation but she would also be checking mine.
I also varied how I wrote my equation – sometimes vertically and sometimes horizontally. That way she’d get used to seeing an equation written both ways. She would often do the same.
A GAME THAT GROWS WITH THE STUDENT:
This simple and fun game can be used with all sorts of math skills.
- Fractions (Proper, improper, creating mixed, etc.)
- Decimals (Write as a decimal OR draw TWO dominoes at a time and treat each as a decimal number to add)
- Anything else you can think of…
Why drill-n-kill when we can make make math fun? Of course, anything that becomes routine or comes with too much unnecessary pressure ceases to inspire. Mix things up, use other games, play store or restaurant, use an abacus, or even back off for a while. The skills will come in time.