Incorporating Warm Ups in Math Class

# Incorporating Warm Ups in Math Class

Hi there!

It’s Kim from Teaching Math by Hart, and I am here to tell you about how I get my students engaged and thinking mathematically within the first 5 minutes of class.

Transition times can be rough, especially in the social atmosphere of middle school. Students come into your room, already fully engrossed in the conversation they started in the hall. So how do you grab their attention while prepping their brains for a period of math?

I have found the best way to start my math class is by using a short and simple math warm-up. I know it can be a challenge to get through our curriculum in the time we have with our students, but I can tell you that taking the first 5 minutes to engage your students with a quick activating activity is well worth it.

Let me backtrack for a minute and tell you how I incorporate math warm-ups in my class. From the very beginning of the year I implement a math routine. Each day we start class with a different activity. Some days it can be as simple as an optical illusion (kids LOVE these), while other days we start with a journal entry, a brain teaser, or a number activity.

After a bit if training, students know what is expected of them, and they usually get down to the task at hand right away. Whatever activity is happening that day, the instructions are on the board/projector as soon as they walk in, that way they can get started on their own without any support from myself. If you decide to implement a similar routine, I can tell you that you will notice a difference in your students. They will begin to automatically focus on the day’s warm-up as they enter the room, settle quicker, and get working sooner!

Today I am going to share a few different number activities I use in my classroom to get my students engaged, while strengthening number sense at the same time. It’s a win-win!.

Spot the Imposter

I love this activity! It is so fast and simple, but the kids will love it. Tell them that they need to be math detectives and determine which number does not belong.
106 is the imposter, as it is the only one where the sum of the digits is not equal to 8

As an additional activity, have students create their own in their notebooks to share with a partner.

Number of the Day

Definitely not a new idea by any means, but often only used in the lower grades. Select a number as a class. I often have random students roll dice, or select from a deck of cards.
The great things about these activities is that they can be used multiple times, simply change the number. Easy differentiation as well, as you can decide how many digits to use.

It’s all the Same

This is a great activity that helps stress that numbers can be expressed in multiple ways. It seems easy enough, but quite a few students will begin to struggle once they have the first 5 or so. I find it encourages them to be a little creative, by coaching them to make use of pictures, numbers, and words.

I always have the students come up to the board and show one of the ways they cam up with, In the end, we usually have a lot more than 8 ways represented on the board.

Making Numbers

I love this activity as it incorporates a visual and kinesthetic component. Provide each student with a set of number chips, and have them create different numbers using a set criteria.

I hope you found a few ideas that you can try in your own classroom. These activities can be used in multiple ways as well, not necessarily as warm-ups alone. Have 5 minutes left at the end of class? Use them as a wrap-up activity/exit slip. Have some early finishers? Use them as an enrichment activity.

Interested in using Math warm-ups in your class? You can check out my full collection of warm-ups in my TpT store.
Kim is a devoted mother, wife and teacher. She is currently a middle years math teacher in a school in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She spends her time planning and thinking of new and innovative ways to teach math to her students. Why, you ask? Believe it or not, she thinks learning Math should be FUN and it should be REAL!

If you are interested in finding more math activities to try in your own classroom, please consider following Kim on her blog Teaching Math by Hart, or her Facebook page.