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TEACHER INSIGHTS

21 Time-Saving Strategies, Activities, and Ideas All Math Teachers Should Know

21 Time-Saving Strategies, Activities, and Ideas All Math Teachers Should Know

21 Time-Saving Strategies, Activities, and Ideas All Math Teachers Should Know

A Post By: Anthony Persico

Some have been around for a while others have only emerged in recent years – but all have been selected from our archives for math teachers of all grade levels, including first year math teachers. Enjoy!

Useful Resources and Strategies

Photo by Wavebreakmedia/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Wavebreakmedia/iStock / Getty Images

1. Free Math Worksheets — Topic-specific math worksheets are an essential tool for giving your students opportunities to practice and apply what they are learning in class. And while I do not recommend using worksheets as a primary teaching tool, they can be used effectively to supplement instruction and give students the extra practice that they need. Just be sure not to include time restrictions on completing worksheets or other math activities, as this practice can be damaging to students.

2. Puzzles, Riddles, and Brain Teasers — This collection of math puzzles and brain teasers (with answers) is a great ice-breaker activity (I share these with my students on the first day of school) or to use whenever you want your students to engage in creative and outside-of-the-box thinking. The activity comes as a printable PDF worksheet that is easy to share with your students.

3. The 10 Best Math Movies — Whether you want to give your students a break from testing, supplement your instruction, or share some well-earned Friday fun time, showing a math-themed movie in class can be an educational and enjoyable experience. This list shares the ten best school appropriate math movies. I always keep a copy of one or two of them in my desk drawer for a rainy day.

4. An Awesome Way to Teach Kids Fractions — Math teachers of all levels know that many students fail to gain a deep understanding of fractions and decimals. Creating fraction kits is an effective strategy for getting students to explore the idea of equivalent fractions and acquire a conceptual grasp of the topic, which is critical for being successful at higher levels of math. Once students master this topic, they are better equipped to perform more complex tasks like converting a decimal into a fraction.

5. Celebrate Pi Day — I’m always surprised by how many math teachers fail to celebrate Pi Day with their students, since March 14th is the only widely recognized mathematical holiday on the calendar. This collection of Pi Day resources includes a printable infographic and 5-minute Pi Day Fun Facts video that can be shared with students of all grade levels.

6. Inject Pop Culture Into Your Lesson Plans —You can easily boost student engagement by bringing elements of pop culture into your math activities. You can use my popular math activities involving The Avengers, Star Wars, and Nintendo’s Super Mario to channel student interest in movies and video games into meaningful learning experiences.

Boosting Student Engagement

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7. Step Up Your Warm Up Activities — I’m a firm believer that the first five minutes of any math lesson are the most important. If you don’t engage and excite your students within the first few minutes, then you will be fighting an uphill battle for the remainder of the lesson. This collection of activities will help you to open your lessons with strong hooks that will keep your students on their toes and excited for whatever comes next. And it includes one of my favorite activities, Two Truths and One Lie, where students are presented with three mathematical statements (only two of which are true) and they have to identify which statement is a lie and justify why their choice is correct.

8. Use More Hands-On Activities — Who said that learning math is a spectator sport? I’m a huge fan of giving my students opportunities to explore mathematical concepts via hands-on activities. Why? Because hands-on activities are a highly effective strategy for developing a strong conceptual understanding of a math topic. Some ideas include using Cheez-Its to explore area and perimeter, using Starburst candies to explore probability, and building fraction kits to explore equivalent fractions.

9. How to Get Your Students Writing About Math — More and more math teachers are incorporating more writing activities into their lesson plans—a trend that is being driven by the use of daily math journals and highly engaging think-notice-wonder writing prompts which help students to organize their thinking, apply key vocabulary, and communicate mathematically.

10. Which One Doesn’t Belong? — If you are looking to make your math warm-ups more visual and thought-provoking, then starting your lessons with Which One Doesn’t Belong? (WODB) activities is a great strategy for instantly sparking creative and critical student thinking that will last for the entire lesson. If you haven’t tried WODB activities yet, give them a try and watch your student engagement skyrocket!

11. Take Advantage of Holidays — I always make a point to steer my students’ enthusiasm for major holidays into meaningful learning experiences by incorporating math in some way. Whether you are building an entire lesson (like this math history lesson on Famous African American Mathematicians during Black History Month) or are just looking for a fun warm-up up or cool down activity to celebrate Christmas, Halloween, or Valentine’s Day, injecting some holiday spirit into your math lessons is always a good idea.

Teacher Well-Being

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12. Support a Growth Mindset in Your Classroom — Learning math with a growth mindset— the attitude that learning is a process where mistakes are celebrated as opportunities to grow—can change the way our students feel about the subject. With a growth mindset, I can’t becomes I can’t...yet, which blazes the trail to I can! You can support this mindset for learning in your classroom by sharing the right messages (like these inspiring growth mindset quotes), hanging a growth mindset poster in your classroom, and learning more about the supporting research.

13. Does Your Classroom Have the Essentials? — You know that, when it comes to learning, the environment plays a huge role. What does it take to make your classroom a warm and engaging learning environment? I like to start with organization (where my classroom teacher desk is always organized and packed with the essentials). Then I focus on decorating my classroom with colorful math posters and inspiring math quotes to create a supportive learning environment that is easy to set up and break down at the end of the year.

14. 21 Back to School Tips Every Teacher Needs — This collection of back-to-school tips will help you to reflect upon the previous school year to develop your weaknesses and build upon your strengths, make the most of your summer vacation, learn valuable lessons—like how to say ‘no’ more often—and how to use Twitter to engage in world class professional development from the comfort of your home.

15. Have a Plan for the End of the School Year — Savvy math teachers know that having a solid plan in place for getting through the final weeks of the school year is the key to preventing burnout and promoting personal well-being. I rely on using student-centered math projects at the end of the school year to keep my students engaged. This saved energy can be applied to packing up your classroom the right way, and entering your summer vacation feeling great.

16. Math Teacher Humor — It’s always a good idea to plan many opportunities to laugh during the school year. You can incorporate some math humor in your classroom by sharing funny math jokes and puns for kids, and you can lighten the mood in the teachers’ lounge or at your next faculty meeting by sharing some hysterical memes that every math teacher can relate to.

Professional Development

17. Attend a Conference — Every math teacher should attend a conference at least once every few years. Conferences are a great place to network with fellow educators, learn new things (most conferences give you the flexibility to pursue topics that you are most interested in), discover emerging trends in math education, collect some awesome goodies and gifts, and make new friends.

18. Use Twitter for Personalized PD — Twitter has become a place where teachers go to network, swap ideas, and interact with math education gurus like Jo Boaler. This guide to using Twitter for personalized professional development will walk you through setting up an account, using hashtags, connecting with influencers, and building your personal learning network.

19. Embrace More Technology — This post shares simple and approachable ways to make your lessons more tech-friendly, including how to implement a bring your own device policy, setting up an online classroom, flipping you instruction using video lessons, and how to use popular software like Minecraft for Education.

20. Utilize YouTube — YouTube is a treasure trove of high quality and 100% free K-12 math video lessons that you can use to supplement your instruction both inside and outside of the classroom. These video lessons are especially helpful for students who need to brush up on topics while away from the classroom and they are a great resource for supporting your visual learners.

21. Make Real World Connections — I often tell my students that math is everywhere in an effort to blur the lines between the classroom walls and the real world. This collection of interesting real-world applications of mathematics will allow you to empower your students with the knowledge of the amazing places their math skills can take them.

Of course the above 21 Time-Saving Strategies, Activities, and Ideas for math teachers just scratch the surface of all there is to learn about the art of teaching mathematics effectively. Subscribe to our mailing list here to get more free daily resources, lessons, and tips in your inbox every week.

Read More Posts About Math Education:

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Anthony is the lead educator and founder of Mashup Math. He lives in Denver, Colorado and is also a YouTube for Education partner. Follow him on Twitter at @mashupmath.

 
 

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10 Super Fun Math Riddles for Kids (with Answers)

10 Super Fun Math Riddles for Kids (with Answers)

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Kids easily grow bored with repetitive and predictable worksheets. Challenging math riddles, on the other hand, are great for engaging kids to think critically and apply their math and reasoning skills in creative ways.

Math riddles and brain teasers can be used with kids in the classroom and at home as an effective strategy for improving problem-solving skills. Teachers and parents can use them to challenge their kids and keep them interested in learning math.

If you are looking for some challenging (or even a bit silly) math riddles and brain teasers for your kids, then check out this brand new collection of 10 Super Fun Math Riddles for Kids! These riddles are ideal for students in grades 3-8.

You can work through these riddles one-by-one by scrolling down, or you can click here to download all of them together in this free math riddles with answers PDF worksheet.

And if you get stuck, be sure to download your free Math Riddles for Kids PDF worksheet to access the answer key. Enjoy!

10 Awesome Maths Riddles and Brain Teasers for Kids:


1.) Troy has more than two dogs at home. All of them are corgis, except for two. All of them are pugs, except for two. All of them are labs, except for two. What kinds of dogs and how many of each kind does Troy have?

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Answer: Troy has 3 dogs: one corgi, one pug, and one lab

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.) I am a three-digit number. My tens digit is six more than my ones digit. My hundreds digit is eight less than my tens digit. What number am I?

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Answer: 193


3.) A grandmother, two mothers, and two daughters went to a baseball game together and bought one ticket each. How many tickets did they buy in total?

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Answer:  3 tickets (the grandmother is also a mother and the mother is also a daughter)


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.


4.) When Miguel was 6 years old, his little sister, Leila, was half is age. If Miguel is 40 years old today, how old is Leila?

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Answer: She is 37 years old.


5.) What can you put between a 7 and an 8 so that the result is greater than a seven, but less than an eight? 

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Answer: A decimal. 7.8 is greater than 7, but less than 8


6.) The total cost for a new pair of headphones and a new pair of sunglasses is $140. The headphones cost $100 more than the sunglasses. How much do the headphones cost?

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Answer: The headphones cost $120 and the sunglasses cost $20.


7.) Leon works at the aquarium. When he tries to put each turtle in its own tank, he has one turtle too many. But if he puts two turtles per tank, he has on tank too many. How many turtles and how many tanks does Leon have?

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Answer: He has 3 tanks and 4 turtles


8.) How far can a dog run into the woods?

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Answer: Half way (after that, the dog would be running out of the woods)


9.) Alvin spent half as much as Lorie did on holiday presents this year and Chris spent 3 times more than Alvin did. The total spent between the three of them was $720. How much money did each person spend?

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Answer: Alvin spent $120, Lorie spent $240, and Chris spent $360


10.) You are given an 8 gallon jug filled with water, and also two empty jugs: one that holds 5 gallons and another that holds 3 gallons. Using these three jugs, how can you measure exactly 4 gallons of water?

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Answer: Fill te 5-gallon jug. Next, pour from the 5-gallon jug to completely fill the 3-gallon jug (leaving 2 gallons in the 5-gallon jug). Then, pour all of the water from the 3-gallon jug back into the 8-gallon jug. Next, pour the two gallons from the 5-gallon jug into the 3-gallon jug, which would leave it with one gallon of space available. Then, fill the 5-gallon jug again. Finally, pour from the 5-gallon jug into the 3-gallon jug (filling up the one gallon of available space), which would leave you with exactly four gallons in the 5-gallon jug!


Did I miss your favorite math riddle for kids? Share your thoughts, questions, and suggestions in the comments section below!

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

By Anthony Persico

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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.

 
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21 Cool Math Games and Activities for Kids in Elementary School

21 Cool Math Games and Activities for Kids in Elementary School

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Math teachers are always looking for cool math games and activities to share with students at the elementary and middle school levels. Using cool math games and activities in your lesson plans is a great strategy for boosting student engagement and excitement for learning math inside and outside of the classroom.

The following list of cool math games and activities for kids includes math video games, math board games, math puzzles and brain teasers, and other fun math game and activity ideas.

These cool maths games and activities are perfect for lesson plans, at home learning, summer session, and more. Which one will be your favorite?


Cool Math Games and Activities for Kids: Video Games

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1.) Prodigy

With over 900 crucial math skills for Grades 1 - 8, Prodigy is the perfect game for mastering mathematics both at home and at school (visit).

2.) Math Playground

Math Playground is a popular learning site filled with math games, logic puzzles and a variety of 
problem solving activities. A favorite of parents and teachers, Math Playground provides 
a safe place for children to learn and explore math concepts at their own pace (visit).

BrainPop Jr. shares a huge collection of fun, game-based learning math lessons.

BrainPop Jr. shares a huge collection of fun, game-based learning math lessons.

3.) BrainPop Jr

Gently encourages young learners to ask questions and form their own ideas about core math learning topics (visit).

4.) DreamBox Learning-Math

DreamBox Learning Math is an adaptive, online K-8 math program designed to complement classroom instruction and deliver results (visit).

5.) Monkey Math (iOS app)

Join your child’s favorite monkey in math games and activities in a playfully designed beach-themed world (visit)


Cool Math Games and Activities for Kids: Board Games

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6.) Sum Swap

Kids develop math fluency and early math skills basic as they play through the game board (learn more).

Kids love to play the  Sequence Numbers  game!

Kids love to play the Sequence Numbers game!

7.) Sequence Numbers

Match the addition or subtraction equation on the card to the correct answer on the board, and place your chip there (learn more).

8.) Dino Math Tracks Place Value Game

Learn place value, counting, addition, and subtraction with a prehistoric twist! (learn more)

9.) Pay Day!

This classic board game is much easier than Monopoly and teaches kids how to make and manage money (learn more)

10.) Pizza Fraction Fun Game

Segmented pizzas provide a multi-sensory way to introduce and explore fractions (learn more)


Cool Math Games and Activities for Kids: Math Puzzles

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11.) Daily Sudoku for Kids

Sudoku puzzles are a great activity for kids. They exercise the brain, help develop logical reasoning, and provide a sense of achievement (visit).

12.) Riddles from Math Warehouse

Your kids will have a blast with fun math riddles and brain teasers! (visit)

Get free math puzzles at www.mashupmath.com

Get free math puzzles at www.mashupmath.com

13.) Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division Puzzles from Mashup Math

Sharing these fun, free, and printable daily math puzzles with your students is guaranteed to boost student engagement and get your kids exciting about practicing and learning math every day! (visit)

14.) Which One Doesn’t Belong?

Make your math warm-ups more visual and thought-provoking with Which One Doesn’t Belong? activities. They’re a great strategy for instantly sparking creative and critical student thinking (learn more and access free sample graphics).

15.) Two Truths and One Lie! (2T1L)

2T1L is a fun way to spark deep mathematical thinking and open discussion at the start (or end—2T1L activities make great exit tickets) of any lesson (learn more and access sample activities)


Cool Math Games and Activities for Kids: Fun Activities

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16.) The Barbie Bungee Jump!

The Barbie Bungee Jump Experiment is a super fun, hands-on, group STEM lesson idea (learn more).

17.) The Human Number Line

Fraction Kits are simple and highly effective.

Fraction Kits are simple and highly effective.

Every student receives a card with a value on the front and they have to stand side-by-side to create a human number line! Make this activity extra challenging by only allow certain students to speak (or none at all). (video example)

18.) Fraction Kit

Creating fraction kits is a great way to get your kids exploring equivalent fractions and acquiring a deep, conceptual understanding of the topic (learn more)

19.) Math Facts Hopscotch

Challenge kids to a game of hopscotch, multiplication hopscotch that is. Get some fresh air while skip counting and hopping! (learn more)

20.) The Famous Four 4’s Activity

Can you find every number between 1 and 20 using only four 4’s and any operation? (Here’s an example √4 + √4 + 4⁄4 = 5). (learn more)

21.) Candy Math!

Using candy as a hands-on math learning tool is a great way to make good use of all the piles of candy at Halloween or Easter and to boost student engagement (get 30+ Amazing Candy Math Activities for Kids).


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


Tags: 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, grade 6, grade 7, grade 8, cool math games for kids, cool math games for elementary school, cool maths games for kids, cool maths games for elementary kids

What fun math Activities are you sharing with your kids this week? 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

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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.

 
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Free Math Brain Teaser Puzzles for Kids in Grades 1-6 to Celebrate Snack Food Month!

Free Math Brain Teaser Puzzles for Kids in Grades 1-6 to Celebrate Snack Food Month!

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Are you looking for some fun and printable math brain teaser puzzles for kids elementary school?

If so, the following collection of 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade math brain teaser puzzles for kids will be a perfect addition to your lesson plans during the month of February.

All of these free math brain teaser puzzles can be used a key component of your lesson, as a warm-up, do-now, or anticipatory set, as a cool-down, or even as a homework assignment.

And since February is National Snack Food Month, a time celebrate your favorite snack foods, whether they be healthy or unhealthy, these super fun, brand new snack foods math puzzles are perfect for celebrating in your classroom!

The puzzles are tiered by difficulty using the color system from my brand new PDF workbook: The Big Book of Super Fun Math Puzzles for Grades 1-6 !

Pink (Grades 1 & 2) | Blue (Grades 3 & 4) | Green (Grades 5 & 6)


1.) Pink Level (Grades 1-2)

Solution:

Chips=4

Cookie=6

Popcorn=3

?=7

Want over 300 more fun math puzzles for grades 1-6? Check out our brand new PDF workbook The Big Book of Super Fun Math Puzzles for Grades 1-6 !

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!)

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2.) Blue Level (Grades 3-4)

Solution:

Chips=8

Pretzel=8

Cookie=13

Popcorn=5

?=80

Want over 300 more fun math puzzles for grades 1-6? Check out our brand new PDF workbook The Big Book of Super Fun Math Puzzles for Grades 1-6 !

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!)


Click here  to get more free WODB graphics like this.

Click here to get more free WODB graphics like this.

3.) Green Level (Grades 5-6)

Solution:

Chips=14

Pretzel=14

Cookie=8

Popcorn=13

?=222

Want over 300 more fun math puzzles for grades 1-6? Check out our brand new PDF workbook The Big Book of Super Fun Math Puzzles for Grades 1-6 !

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!)


Do you want over 300 more math puzzles and activities just like these?

Get your copy of our best-selling PDF workbook The Big Book of Super Fun Math Puzzles for Grades 1-6: 300+ Kid-Friendly Math Activities today!


Tags: math brain teasers 1st grade, math brain teasers 2nd grade, math brain teasers 3rd grade, math brain teasers 4th grade, math brain teasers 5th grade, math brain teasers 6th grade, 1st grade math puzzles, 2nd grade math puzzles, 3rd grade math puzzles, 4th grade math puzzles, 5th grade math puzzles, 6th grade math puzzles

What fun February Math Activities are you sharing with your kids this year? 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

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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.

 
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The Best Math Christmas Word Problems for 5th grade

The Best Math Christmas Word Problems for 5th grade

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Are you looking for super fun and engaging free Math Christmas Math Worksheets for 5th Grade (level 5) that are printable and easy to share?

Word problems help students think logically and creatively while applying their math skills to real-world scenarios (which is super fun when those scenarios are Christmas-related).

So go ahead and add some of the fun 5th Grade Christmas Word Problems (Grade 5) to your upcoming lesson plans before winter break or Christmas vacation (these activities are perfect for the last day before your kids leave for vacation).

Each 5th Grade Christmas Maths Word Problem (Grade 5) can be used a key component of your lesson, as a warm-up, do-now, or anticipatory set, as a cool-down, or even as a homework assignment.

The word problems cover topics including adding and subtracting fractions, equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting decimals, and multiplication and division.

The Christmas Math Word Problems for 5th Grade are super cute and engaging and your 5th graders will love them!


1.) Christmas Math Word Problem #1: Shop Till You Drop!

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Answer:

X + 2X + 3X = 720 —- X=120

Alvin spent $120, Lorie spent $240, and Chris spent $360

Try It! Share this free Christmas Word Problem with your 5th graders by right-clicking the image to save it to your computer or to print.

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.) Christmas Math Word Problem #2: Reindeer Feed

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Answer: 5/30 pounds were fed at dinner

Try It! Share this free Christmas Word Problem with your 5th graders by right-clicking the image to save it to your computer or to print.


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.) Christmas Math Word Problem #3: Cookie Bake

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Answer: Rej would need 2.4 cups of sugar and 0.06 cups of cinnamon.

Try It! Share this free Christmas Word Problem with your 5th graders by right-clicking the image to save it to your computer or to print.


What 5th Grade Christmas Math Activities are you sharing with your kids this year? 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

NewBlogImage.png

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.

 
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