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Math Enrichment Activities For Upper Elementary

What activities do you do to enrich math learning in your classroom? When you hear your early finishers say “I am done. Now what?”, what will you tell them to do next? In this post, I am going to share some math enrichment activities for 3rd grade and above in elementary schools.

Click here or the picture below to get a freebie of 10 math task cards to use with your class.

Math Enrichment Activities For Upper Elementary

Math Enrichment Activity 1: Use Task Cards

This is one of my favorite math enrichment activities because it’s quick, flexible, engaging, and very easy to prepare. Students can work on these cards independently, with a partner, or even in a small group with you! You can assign certain task cards to the students or you may give them choices.

These cards feature problems from all strands of the curriculum: number and operations, algebra, measurement, geometry, etc. Some cards feature multiple standards.

For example, the “Claw Machine” card (shown in the picture below) assigns values to each shape and asks for the total worth of all the shapes in the claw machine. Thus, to solve this card, students first need to be able to identify shapes such as circles, quadrilaterals, hexagons, etc., and count accurately. Then they need to know how to multiply and add up all the values correctly.

Students can record their answers simply on a piece of paper, in a math notebook/journal, or on the recording sheets that come with the cards. In addition, there is a progress monitoring chart for the teacher and students to keep track of the work progress.

math enrichment activities-math task cards

What Does it Look Like in a Classroom?

Every day, I have a center called “Math Cards,” and the routines for how to work in this center are very simple. If the student chooses to work in the “Math Cards” center, he/she just needs to bring the math notebook, open a new page, put down the heading (school, class, name, and date), and the title of the cards. Then, the student can pick a card he/she is interested in and record the answers on that notebook page.

If two students work on the same card, I will ask them to work independently on the card for 5 minutes first before they discuss and help each other. Finally, they will check each other’s answers to make sure they have done the math problem correctly.

Besides, the final problem on most of these multi-problem math cards is always asking students to create a similar problem for a partner to solve. Therefore, the two partners can create a problem for each other and solve each other’s problems in the very end.

math enrichment activities-mask task cards with tracking sheet

For instance, the “Sticker Strips” card (shown in the picture above) asks students to find the values of some sticker stripes based on three sticker stripes with values. After that, students need to create their own sticker stripes and ask a classmate to find their values.

This math center works out really well for my top group since they know more about extra-curricular math, and they are good at critical thinking and expressing their ideas to others.

Math Enrichment Activity 2: Use Free Websites

After distance learning, now there are so many good and free websites for teachers and students. For example, my school uses the Engage NY math curriculum, and there is a website called Zearn.org that provides matching instructional videos, interactive activities, and extra fluency and lesson practices.

As a result, another math center I have in my room is called “Zearn.” This works out really well for my bottom and middle groups because it helps enhance their conceptual understanding and improves their computational fluency. You can also assign certain students specific lessons to meet individual learning needs.

Another website I like to use is called Khan Academy. You can create a class on their website and assign practices to your class.

Math Enrichment Activity 3: Provide Choices

Research shows that giving students choices can significantly increase engagement and make learning more effective. In my classroom, besides math centers, I sometimes give students “free time,” during which students can pick one activity they like from a “Math Menu” I provide them. You can simply write several activities you want students to do on a chart paper or a dry-erase board to make the “Math Menu”.

math center rotating chart

If you have centers, you may divide your class into three groups and let them work in different centers at one time then rotate. The table above gives an example.

Before I had this rotating schedule, I always asked students to work on their math workbook (school ordered as part of the curriculum) right after my lesson. If they finished before my math period ended, I would let them use the laptop or task cards.

The good thing about this old schedule is that the transition is simple and the classroom is quiet. Everybody does the same thing, so it’s very easy for the teacher to manage.

However, it is boring, and those who struggle with questions in the workbook, never get to see the task cards or the laptop. Also, I noticed that some students rushed through the questions because they wanted to use the laptop, etc.

To Sum Up

In this post, I shared three math enrichment activities for upper elementary. If you want to try some task cards, click here to download the freebie!

Want more? Click here or the picture below to purchase the product mentioned in this post. If you are interested in fraction-related resources, read this post.

math enrichment activities-math task cards

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Best,

Ingrid