Why was the math book sad? Because it had too many problems! Keep math time fun by putting the books away, and get creative with math practice! This simple backyard math scavenger hunt game works well for grades 1-4.
- Index cards
- Dry erase markers
Set up the math cards.
On one set of index cards, write digits 1-9. Write the digits more than once so you can set out as many as possible. The more cards the players can find, the more fun the game is.
Take the cards, and tape them on the windows in your home that face the yard. You could also get creative and tape them to the fence, the trees, and the shed.
On another set of index cards, write different operations.
For grades 1-2, include addition, subtraction, and possibly multiplication, depending on the child’s understanding of arrays.
Grades 3-4 can include multiplication, division, a fraction symbol and parenthesis.
Players choose operation cards to create an equation.
Each player chooses an operation from the deck. The leader of the game assigns a task for each player.
Then, help the players set up an equation with blank spaces for the digits they will find.
Make sure to give a reminder that with subtraction, the minuend (the number subtracted from) must be larger than the subtrahend (the number taken away).
You should only assign tasks the players are comfortable with completing independently. Remind them to show their work, or the points won’t count.
Here are some example tasks:
- Add two one-digit numbers _+_=
- Add two, three, or four two-digit numbers. _ _+_ _=
- Add two three-digit numbers _ _ _+_ _ _ =
- Subtract two single digit numbers _-_ =
- Subtract a one-digit number from a two-digit number _ _ – _ =
- Subtract a two-digit number from a three-digit number. _ _ _ – _ _ =
- Subtract a three-digit number from a three-digit number _ _ _ – _ _ _
- Multiply two one-digit numbers. Also show as an array. _ x _ =
- Multiple two two-digit numbers. _ _ x _ _ =
- Multiple a three-digit number with a one, two, or three-digit number _ _ _ x _ _ =
- Divide a two or three-digit number with a one-digit or two-digit number _ _ _ ÷ _ =
- Select two operations. Create a number sentence with one-digit and two-digit numbers using the operations and placing the parenthesis in the number sentence. ( _ x _ ) + ( _ -_ )
- Write and solve a word problem that uses the operation. Include the equation.
- Write and solve a measurement word problem using the operation. Include the equation.
Hunt for digits, and arrange the digits in the equation.
Players go on a hunt to find digits to put in their equations. As they run around the yard, they record the digits on their whiteboard. They can put the digits in any order they want.
Solve the math problems.
Players solve their math problems on their whiteboard. The leader can have a calculator to double check that the math is correct. For each correct question answered, the player receives a point.
Play again, and get rewards!
Keep playing until the players begin to get tired, either mentally or physically.
Make sure to connect each point to a fun reward! Tangible prizes help players celebrate and take pride in their work.
We used one piece of candy for each point earned. This incentive was exactly what my children needed to get off their devices and review math concepts!