Math Survivor Game!

Math Survivor!  Which team will be eliminated first?  Which team can survive?

img_9343After reading about Grudgeball on Elissa’s site and then here, I couldn’t wait to try it.  I decided to call it Math Survivor since we were “voting teams out of the competition”, and I didn’t have them shoot a nerf ball.  I’m glad I eliminated the nerf ball, because the voting people off took forever by itself!

I love jumping right in and trying new things.  However, sometimes this means I fail.  And fail I did at first!  I must have misread the instructions.  I thought that ALL teams got to erase x’s each time.  That made sense to me, as why else would they work hard to get the question correct?  However, it became obvious during my first class, when ALL teams were quickly eliminated, that my game had a flaw.  I adjusted it for the next class, letting them add points back more easily, but then everyone was just tied.  Finally, for my third class, I decided to let only one team at a time take off x’s.  DUH.  To keep kids active, I told them that if the team voting x’s off missed the question, I would roll dice to see which team got to take their turn.  This keep everyone motivated for every question.

The game I made is for Piecewise Functions and Transformations, but I also made a blank template.  Here are my rules, templates are below.

Goal:  To be the last team standing (still have x’s)


  1. Every team starts with 10 x’s.
  2. Every team works on every question.  Only one team at a time gets to eliminate x’s for each question.  I just rotated around the room.
  3. One team at a time gets to erase 2 x’s, if they get the question correct.  They can erase 2 x’s from one team, or erase one x from two teams.  They cannot commit suicide  (erase their own x’s).
  4.  If the designated team misses the question, then another team gets to erase the two x’s.  I rolled dice to decide which team.  You could also pick popsicle sticks.
  5. Once a team is eliminated, they cannot add x’s back, but they can still vote other teams out!  (Some teachers let teams add points back or eliminate x’s).
  6. I let kids make alliances.  It almost never works out!  Just like in the real Survivor, alliances quickly crumble.  lol!
  7. TIP:  Only let one person per group erase and make them decide BEFORE coming up to the board who they are going to eliminate.  Otherwise, peers from the other teams can influence them once they are at the board.  I even do a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… count down.  You can also ask them (have them write it on a white board, and erase the x’s yourself if you have a very enthusiastic or overly competitive class).

Blank Template and Piecewise Functions and Transformations Template.

Update: Thanks to the Twittersphere, I had some great feedback from Bowen Kerins!



Fill Out This Form to Connect With Other Math Teachers On Kahoot!

There are thousands of public Kahoots! made by teachers to chose from.  Kahoot! has a search feature that allows you to search by title, subject, tag, or username.  You can also share a Kahoot! that you have made with another teacher if you know their username.

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Since my Kahoot! post, I have found that many math teachers that I know also use Kahoot! and are using it in ways that I have not even thought of.  For instance, Laura Wheeler uses Kahoot! a few times a week as a warm up for a fun way to do spiraling reviews.  I would love to easily find and see her reviews, since we both teach high school math.

Then, as is often the case, an amazing idea was born on Twitter.  Wouldn’t it be GREAT if we knew our math teacher friends Kahoot! user names?  Then, we could search and share with teachers that we know.  Additionally, if teachers would tag the Kahoots! they use with MTBoS, we could also search that way.

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Sharing your Kahoot!

So, please fill out this form if you are interested in easily sharing the Kahoots! that you create and use with other math teachers.  I asked for the subjects you teach so that other teachers can more easily find teachers that have similar needs.  And don’t worry if you don’t make your own Kahoots!  I rarely make Kahoots! from scratch.  But, I do go through each Kahoot! I use carefully, and often edit them, so other teachers would probably benefit from the Kahoots! that I use.  If you are not already using Kahoot!, you need to sign up for a free Kahoot! account here to get your username.

Here are the results: Google Form of MTBoS Kahoot! user names.

Once you finish the form, you will be directed to a Google Form of MTBoS Kahoot! user names.

How to Search and Add Tags in Kahoot!

Also, to search by tag, you can’t just enter mtbos.  You have to type in doc.tags:mtbos.

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Don’t forget to tag your Kahoot! with MTBoS after you finish making it.

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Fill out this form to connect with other math teachers on Kahoot!

Fill out this form to connect with other math teachers on Kahoot!

Trashketball is AMAZING

It took me FOUR YEARS to get these Trashketball directions down to a science.  My kids can just read them and we are ready to go.  Plus, I have never seen my afternoon class of freshmen boys work so hard, on FRIDAY.  It almost made me cry from joy.  I seriously wish I could play Trashketball everyday.  Every. Day.

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I have included my Trashketball Powerpoint instructions for you to show your students.  It is crucial that they all pick a letter, M A T H or O, and that you randomly call them up by this letter to show you their answer and thus get to shoot.  This way ALL students are actively working out the problem on their own paper.  Then they work as a team to make sure everyone understands and gets the same answer.  It is amazing.  I use popsicle sticks to call out the letter.  They get one point for the correct answer.  If they get the correct answer, they get to shoot from the 2-pt or 3-pt line.  Also, I hung it from the wall with a Command hook, but the students want it higher.  lol!

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Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 7.40.56 PMFun stuff:  I play “Are You Ready To Rumble” from Jock Jams while they are reading the directions.  I have this COOL trashket I found a couple of years ago.  I have a 2-pt line and a 3-pt line.  It is a blast!  But best of all, they are so focused and work so hard!  Games for the win again!  I made dry-erase index card necklaces to write their letter on for middle schoolers, but my high school students wanted to wear them as well.  I really love freshmen.

I bought the Trashketball online at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for only $10!!

Math Games Collection on Google Docs – Add Your Game Today!

In a recent Middle School Math Chat  (#msMathChat, Mondays at 9PM EST), Adrienne, @shlagteach, suggested that we create a Google Doc compilation of games for math class.  Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 8.44.51 AMSo, I created a Math Games for the Classroom Google Spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet lists the game, the concept or standard the game teaches, and the rules for each game.

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Please add a math game to the spreadsheet.  You can add an individual game, or if you know of a collection of games, you can add it to the “Collections” page.  Thanks so much to John Golden, @mathhombre, for adding the Collections page and several collections!

Games 1 It would be really helpful if you have blogged about your game, so that you can go into detail explaining it, and then include a link to your blog post in the Spreadsheet.  If you haven’t blogged about the game you want to add, this would be an excellent opportunity to do so!

Bill Carrera had an idea for a great activity using the spreadsheet. He had his students read the Math Games Google Spreadsheet and pick a game to learn and play.  He even had the students create their own games and teach it to someone else!

I would love to hear any other great ideas or what you are doing in your classroom with math games!

Snowball Fight Icebreaker

I have never needed to lead an icebreaker – until #TMC13 when I facilitated the Middle School Math Morning Sessions.  I teach at a small private school.  Almost all of our kids have known each other since early elementary school.  The class size goes from 16 to 32 from 5th to 6th grade.  However, they have tons of bonding time and activities together before they go to math class so I don’t really need to do an icebreaker.

I was nervous about leading the MS Morning session, especially since we had almost 40 people signed up!  Several participants had told me they were nervous too so I wanted an icebreaker that would be fun and get us moving.  Since there were too many people in the room to do musical chairs, we had a snowball fight instead!  This was my first time every doing a “Snowball Fight” but I think it turned out pretty well.  I sure had fun and people were laughing, so I think it made us all loosen up a bit that first morning of TMC.  I wish I had taken a picture!

SNOWBALL FIGHT! – How to Play:

  1. Don’t tell them you are having a snowball fight!
  2. Give everyone a half sheet of paper.  You should play too!
  3. Have everyone write their name and three things about themselves on the paper.  You can let them write whatever or chose things for them to write about.  @pegcagle suggested two truths and a lie, which incorporates TWO icebreakers!
  4. After everyone is finished, tell them to crumple their paper up.  You will get strange looks.
  5. Then, tell them to have a snowball fight!  We kept picking up the paper and throwing it for a few minutes.  I would suggest this as the first throw is someone curious/skeptical/reserved and people have more fun as they throw more.  Don’t let them throw too much or it could get crazy.  😉
  6. Call cease snowball!  Then have everyone grab a snowball.
  7. I start to model what to do.  I called out the name on the paper and then read their three things.  Then they read and so on.

** Warning – You may lose a snowball!  We did!  In that case, you will have to improvise.  This ended up funny and then even more funny when we found their snowball later.  I would tell the lost snowball that their snowball has magic hiding powers and then offer them a treat so they won’t feel bad.

Variations – 

  • You could leave the name off and let students guess who it was after reading the things?  I’m not sure I like this as much though bc I really liked looking at the people when they were being talked about.  However, it may be less embarrassing for students if people aren’t looking at them when their items are read.  Thoughts?
  • It would be fun for everyone to get in a line according to whose snowball they have.  Then they would all have to ask names and talk to each other (if they didn’t know each other) in order to line up.
  • I think this could also work really well as an activity instead of an icebreaker using math questions.  Students could make up a math question, have a snowball fight, and then solve the problem on a snowball they pick up.  They could then get with the person to see if their answer’s matched.

I have only done this once and never in a class of students.  I think that it would be fun as an activity in addition to an ice breaker.  I would love to hear any variations that you have done – or can come up with – in the comments!

Area Formula Game – Draw It!

My students love this!  And, it gets them up out of their seats.

The students are in two teams, lined up sitting in chairs.  The first person of each team goes to the board with a dry-erase marker in hand.  At the top of the Powerpoint I post a question.  The first person to (legibly) write the answer in their spot wins the point.  I usually play this with Geometry and they draw pictures so I called it “Draw It”.  I think I made this up but I can’t honestly remember.  🙂

This is hard to explain so today I made a video of some of my students playing it.  These amazing students volunteered to come in during their recess to play for me!  Did I mention how much I love 6th grade!  

Draw It Game Video Example on YouTube


The ppt is also on Slideshare.

Zero! Game for Integer Operations and Absolute Value

I got this amazing game from Denise at Let’s Play Math.  It is played like Blackjack because the kids are dealt 2 cards, and can say “Hit Me!” to get up to 4 cards.  They love, love, love it.

Supplies Needed:

  • Zero Game Sheet (below) for each player
  • 1 deck of cards per group of students (3 to 4 students per group).  It doesn’t matter if the decks are missing cards or mixed up.

Object of the Game – Getting the total absolute value score closest to Zero!

Object of each HAND – Getting each hand closest to Zero!

How to Play:

  1. Red cards are negative, black are positive. Jacks – 11, Queens – 12, Kings -13 Aces 1 or 14 (depending what you need).
  2. Deal each player 2 cards.  One facing up and a hidden one facing down.
  3. Each player adds up their cards to see if they are close to zero.  They can say “Hit Me” and get another card.  They can get up to FOUR cards but must use all of their cards in their final total.  They can also HOLD at two cards.
  4. Once everyone is finished being “Hit” all cards are turned over.  Each player writes all of their cards down and then adds up their total in the total box.  The person with the smallest total wins the hand and gets to be the dealer!
  5. Each player finds the absolute value of their total in the absolute value column.
  6. When time is up, each player adds up the absolute value column.  The person closest to zero wins the game!

I usually have a winner for each group of people playing, and then a winner for the entire room!  This really gets them excited when we see kids who have very low total scores.  It is great fun and the kids BEG to play it for many days after we play it the first time.  It is also great practice!  Just be sure that they are writing down their numbers so you can check their sums if needed.

Zero Game Sheet

Instructions via ppt presentation (prepared for Global Math Dept presentation):


  • If your students don’t know absolute value yet, you can just leave the last column blank.  Just add up the sum of the Totals column to determine the game winner.
  • I used to let them do multiplication and division but it gets very complicated.  They have more fun (and get to practice combining integers more) by just doing addition.
  • You could also use a + , – dice and have the dealer roll it each round to see if everyone at the table should do addition or subtraction of negative numbers (to make it more difficult).

Flyswatter Review Game – Powerpoint Template

You’ve got to love ANY game that gets kids JUMPING for math!  This game does just that!  I got the idea from Kate’s blog.  I am a floating teacher, so taping the answers on the board wasn’t practical for me.  Instead, I created a Powerpoint presentation that can move from class to class with me.

How it works:

First, split the students into two teams and arm them with flyswatters.  I taped a line on the floor that they had to stan

d behind.  Then, I put up a powerpoint slide that contains definitions in boxes.  A question pops up at the top of the slide and the first person to “swat” it wins!  In the case of a tie, the swatter on the bottom wins!  This game can move FAST, so I added a pop-up yellow box to indicate the answer after they swat.  This way it is quick.  They love seeing the yellow box pop-up!  You could also put answers to questions in the boxes and put the question at the top.  At the end, I did a “Speed Round” where the answers in the boxes were short so kids could read them quick.  The Speed Round was a blast!

The file is a PPT template with instructions.

Or, you can just download the PPT file (not a template) with instructions.

Happy Swatting!

Update: If you want the actual Geometry Review Game – it’s here!

MATHO Review Game – Powerpoint Template

MATHO is a version of Bingo.  It is great for review.  Students work problems and then if they get the problem correct they get to mark off a number on their MATHO board.  First person to get five in a row wins!

I used to play this game all of the time, but had forgotten about it.  When I brought it back, I used technology to make it better!  I put the MATHO board (word document) into a page protector with dry erase makers, and a Powerpoint to make it very easy for me to implement in the classroom.


  1. Pass out MATHO sheets inside page protectors and dry erase markers.
  2. Students pick any one space to be a FREE space.
  3. Students randomly number the remaining blocks 1 – 24.

I put up a problem and students work out the answer on their whiteboards, then show it to me.  If they get the answer correct, they get to mark off the number I call out on their MATHO boards.

For instance:  After the first problem, I call out the number 14.  If they get the problem right then they can mark off 14 on their boards.  I mark off each number on the mini-Matho board in the bottom corner to keep track of the numbers I have called.  This also helps check to see if their numbers are accurate when they call out MATHO.

As usual, about 1/2 way through the class a student calls out MATHO! and gets a prize from the prize pail.  At this time, I have all students erase their entire boards, renumber, and then we start all over.  Before I used the “erasable” MATHO board I would just keep going and say, “next one to get 5 in a row” or “first one to get the whole board” to keep them going.  But, erasing and re-writing the board so you can start all over prevents 6 students from getting MATHO again in 5 minutes at the same time.

Files for MATHO Game:

I am new to Box, so if the link doesn’t work please let me know.

Making Middle School Magic – Powerpoint Jeopardy!

Yes. Today was simply magical in my 6th grade classes!  They came into class with Weird Al’s “I Lost On Jeopardy” rocking the classroom at full blast!  I had them dancing like crazy before class began.  I even had a few guess, “Are we going to play JEOPARDY?!?!?”

I put them in six groups (two to three students in a group) and gave them whiteboards. The rules were that ALL group members had to agree on the same answer and ALL members had to have all of the correct work on their boards. I went i order around the room and let each group pick a category/point value. However, if they MISSED the question then another group got to try to answer it. I picked this group by rolling a dice.

I used a PowerPoint Jeopardy game that I found online and tweaked. I found a Jeopardy theme song midi online and added it to all of the question slides. Although the music got really old for me by the middle of the second class, it added a bit of fun and even excitement to the game. The music made the kids try to “beat the clock”.

This game went so well! The kids worked harder than I have ever seen them work! Most importantly, they worked together better than I have ever seen! They were all intensely engaged and at the end of class they even BEGGED for just one more math problem!  (Which I of course could not help but give them – to the detriment of their next class, sorry JuRu.)

I need to work on this game some more as several of the links were corrupt. Also, you could not tell which questions had been selected. I am actually going to create my own game with all of the bells and whistles and then post it here so please check back!