I believe that any successful classroom starts with some type of daily warm up or bell ringer. Something that the students are expected to do right when they come in to class. A daily math warm up sets the tone for the rest of the class period. It also gives you as a teacher the chance to take attendance, check homework, and get set up before needing to answer a million questions. Students know exactly what they should be doing and what is expected. Below you will find 5 of my favorite daily math warm ups for upper elementary students.
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Odd one out
Odd one out is one of my favorite critical thinking warm up activities and it’s so easy to use! You choose 4 numbers (or objects, shapes, equations, etc) and students choose which one they think doesn’t belong and why. The key is to make sure there isn’t just one right answer! As long as students can defend their thinking, then they are right!
An example of this would be the numbers 54, 64, 81, and 144. Possible student responses include 54 because it’s the only number that isn’t a square, 81 because it’s odd and the others are even, 81 because it isn’t a multiple of 2 (same as the last reason but worded differently!), 144 because it has three digits, and so on! You will be amazed at the things your students come up with!
Another mental math favorite- 24 Game! This game requires you to use 4 numbers and any of the 4 operations to get to the number 24. Some cards are easier, some are more difficult. Just like the previous warm up activity, there isn’t just one right answer! And your students will definitely think of some solutions that you didn’t!
You can find a football variation of a similar game for FREE here! This one has different target numbers in the center and is a little bit easier than 24 game. I usually start with these before moving on to the 24 game cards. These also make a great game to keep at stations or to use as an early finisher.
Number of the Week
This is and and will continue to be my tried and true daily math warm up activity. I student taught in 2nd grade and loved doing daily calendar time. When I landed my first teaching job in 4th grade, I wanted to create something more “grown up” but similar that would allow students daily practice in understanding place value and how to manipulate numbers. And because place value is often the bane of my existence, number of the week was born! You can try out number of the week (any many other great
I would put a number on my board at the beginning of the week. Students would then fill in their number of the week sheet and work on it a little each day. They could work on any part they wanted each day, it just had to be completed by the end of the week. We did this consistently for the whole first semester and I saw major improvements in how well my students understood place value and how large numbers work.
I feel like math is so fast paced that new skills and content are covered so quickly. This makes spiral review of skills absolutely necessary. This will help student retain information and practice new skills. This spiral review requires students to complete 7-10 math problems a day. Some of the problems are calculation problems and others are word problems, variety and mixing of skills is key!
Want to try out spiral review, number of the week, math mazes and more? Click on what grade you teach to sign up for free math resources for 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade!