Are your daily math warm up activities engaging enough to truly capture your students’ focus?

The most effective lesson-opening activities (engagement hook, anticipatory set, warm-up, etc) do two things: assess your students’ prior knowledge and build anticipation for the lesson ahead.

Achieving this goal requires a solid mix of fun and engaging strategies and activity ideas (and rarely relying on assigning routine practice problems).

For some awesome tips and activity ideas for how to improve your warm up activities and make the most of the first five minutes of your lessons, check out my brand new list of effective strategies:

1.) Show a Video Clip

Some math concepts are meant to be seen, and sometimes your students will need visual aids to help grasp complex mathematical ideas. By starting class with a short video clip, you are engaging your students’ ability to think about math visually—a a mindset which will sustain throughout the remainder of the lesson, to everyone’s benefit.

Try It! Try using the video clip of Unit Rates in the Real-World below prior to teaching a lesson on solving word problems involving unit rates.


Would you like FREE math resources in your inbox every day? Click here to sign up for my free math education email newsletter (and get a free math eBook too!)

2.) Puzzles and Challenges

Engaging math challenges and puzzles are a great tool for giving your kids opportunities to have fun while problem solving and thinking mathematically at the same time, especially if you want to prevent them from growing bored of routine practice problems.

Try It! Try sharing this fun math puzzle with your kids at the start of your next lesson and watch your students’ engagement and interest sky rocket!


Are you looking for more daily math challenges and puzzles to share with your kids?

My best-selling workbook 101 Math Challenges for Engaging Your Students is now available as a PDF download. You can get yours today by clicking here.

3.) Which One Doesn’t Belong? (WODB)

Instead of working on practice problems during a lesson's warm-up, students will be shown 4 somewhat related images and have to apply their reasoning skills to decide which of the images does not belong.

And here’s the catch….WODB activities do not have a single correct answer. The activity is designed to be interpreted in a variety of different ways in order to spark deep mathematical thinking and discussion (in small groups, whole class, or both).

Want to learn more about WODB and get more free samples? click here

Try It! Try using the WODB graphic below prior to a lesson on percentages.

Click here  to get more free WODB graphics like this.

Click here to get more free WODB graphics like this.


Are you looking for more daily WODB? math graphics?

You can now share 101 daily WODB warm-up activities for grades 1-9 with your kids with our PDF workbook!

4.) Think-Notice-Wonder (Writing Prompt)

Writing about math encourages creativity, exploration, and communicating one's thoughts and feelings, which leads to deep and meaningful understanding of difficult math concepts.

Think/Notice/Wonder is a great strategy for getting your kids engaged in math writing every day.

Want to learn more about how to use TNW math activities with your kids? click here

Try It! Try using the graphic below before a lesson on solving equations.


Want more? Download 101 Daily Think-Notice-Wonder Writing Prompts for Engaging Your Kids

You can now share 101 Daily Think-Notice-Wonder Writing Prompts with your kids with our PDF workbook!

5.) Two Truths and One Lie (2T1L)

2T1L activities help your kids to develop reasoning skills, make logical arguments, express their ideas in words, and engage with visual mathematics—which ultimately leads to deeper and more meaningful understanding of challenging topics and concepts.

Try It! Try using the 2T1L graphic below to start your next lesson! 


Looking to Share More 2T1L With Your Kids This Year?

You can now share 101 Two Truths and One Lie Math Activities for Grades 3-5 with your kids with our PDF workbook!

What strategies are you using to engage your kids during the first five minutes of class? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico


Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.