Students do so much sitting in a day. During a very long professional development, my principal looked at her watch and said, “We have just hit 75 minutes — the length of a class period.” I was shocked at how much my body just wanted to escape my chair for a walk or a stretch break. It made way more sense why students ask to use the restroom (even when we all know they don’t need to go). Math review games allow students time to get up and move.

**Movement in the classroom: We know it’s a good thing, yet sometimes it is** **difficult to manage****.** Most students enjoy getting out of their seats and doing their work in another part of the class, whether that be with a group or individually. If managed well, it can be a win-win for students learning and working happily and teachers facilitating strong math dialogue.

Here are three “Get Up and Move” activities that I would like to share. I focused on activities that were relatively low-prep. Many of these activities are included in the Maneuvering the Middle curriculum or can be purchased here, but I am going to explain how you might prepare for and execute these activities if you are not a middle school math teacher.

## Math Review Game: FLYSWATTER

The flyswatter game was around when I was a student. I remember playing it in Spanish! Students love this game, and they ask for it daily. Since it is a very low lift, I would use it as an incentive for finished work. Anyway, here is how I adopt it for a math classroom.

## PLANNING

Project around 10 answers on the board. I don’t recommend writing the answers on the whiteboard because they will get rubbed off. You need two flyswatters. Tape a line on the floor parallel to the board, about five feet from the board. This is where students will stop to hear their problem.

The flyswatter game works with problems that are fluency-based. We are going for speed here. Here is a suggestion: fraction, decimal, and percent equivalents. You could project these answers: 40%, 25%, 0.6, ½, etc…

## EXECUTION

Divide students into two groups. Boys versus girls is my go-to. They should be in a line facing the board. You should be standing between the two lines facing the board, too. Set the expectation that you will not call out a problem until it is silent. When the first two opponents are up, you could say, “Two fifths!” The student to hit 40% first would win and stay in the game, and the other student would take a seat. The flyswatters are passed on. The winner would go to the back of the line, and the next two students would be up. You keep playing until there is one player left.

## Math Review Game: SCAVENGER HUNT

This is by far my favorite activity. You can read more details on how to execute and plan a scavenger hunt in this post. It’s self-checking, and you could pull or work with a small group during this activity.

Scavenger hunts are my go to math review activity. 10-12 problems are posted around the room, each page having the solution to a different problem. It functions like a loop. Students are paired (or in a trio) and move from problem to problem solving it, identifying the solution in the room, and then working that problem. Students are finished when they return to their original problem.

## MATH REVIEW GAME: Find It and Fix It

## PLANNING

Find It and Fix It is essentially an error analysis activity. This would be a great way to execute test corrections. Take an assessment or any type of work completed by students. Comb through and analyze what some of the most common misconceptions were. Photocopy the students’ work that exemplified those errors (being careful to not include names). Hang one example problem (for a total of about ten problems) around the classroom.

Pro tip: If it was a multiple choice assessment, remove/cover/scratch out the multiple choice answers to prevent students from just circling the correct answer. The students should be explaining WHAT the error was, not just solving for the answer.

## EXECUTION

This is a great activity for stations. If you have tables, then I would place a problem to fix at each table (or desk grouping). I would circulate for five or so minutes as students rework the problem and analyze the error. Then, when I feel like **most groups** are finished (notice I didn’t say all groups – waiting that long can lead to some off-task behavior), I would announce for them to switch. Students then rotate to the next table for the next problem.

If you don’t have time to plan something special for students to get out of their seats, but you can feel the restlessness in the classroom, then you can still have students get up and move! You can have students find a partner, work out a problem, and then move to find a new partner for the next problem. You can have students work on the floor! Lastly, you can always play The Stand Up Game.

I have always found the key to student engagement and buy-in is two fold: a relationship and a relevant classroom. These three math review games will help with both aspects.

What are your go-to math review games?

Abigail says

We also love Scavenger Hunts! If you’re careful not to duplicate answers, you can also have two or three "levels" of Scavenger Hunts going at the same time! I’ve also been creating games called Whodunnit based on a review game I tried once from Teachers Pay Teachers. We enjoy two twists on Jeopardy style games called Star Wars and a vocab-based game called Password. We also like to do stations.

Noelle Pickering says

Yes, great ideas Abigail! I will have to look up Whodunnit, that is a new one for me. Anything to keep students working, learning, and having fun! Makes for a much easier day.

Matt Miller says

I tried Speed Dating with my students once this past year and the kids loved it! It’s an activity that you need to give a bit of time to during class so that students have adequate time to become “experts” at their problem. But there is a lot of opportunity for differentiation and confidence building! Scavenger hunts are my favorite. Students really get into trying to figure out the correct order of all the cards. And it’s a great activity to have the class work on while you work with small groups!

Noelle Pickering says

Oh yay! I am glad you had such a great experience with Speed Dating! It can get a little noisy! 😉 And yes, perfect idea for the class to be working on scavenger hunts while you pull a small group.

Tracy Kaufman says

We love scavenger hunts too! Another favorite is mad lib…each problem has four answer choices with a word next to each. Once they complete the problem, they find the word next to the correct answer and put it in their mad lib story. Some of our stories get a little crazy but the kids love it! And for the faster problems, I often use Kahoot! We do lots of activities and games in my math class to keep the kids interested.

Amanda Baum says

Speed Dating and Scavenger hunts are a big heck yes. I also just do straight up task cards without the loop, and I get pretty creative with how I hide them. Sometimes if my kids have been really awesome I hide them in our hallway and it becomes an Out in the World scavenger hunt. They love it!

Another favorite is Secret Word Vocab Review. Kind of like task cards or a scavenger hunt with vocab terms, and for each problem, I give them a clue to circle a particular letter in their answer. At the end, they unscramble the special letters for a secret word. They love it!

Last one… Quizlet Live. SO FUN.

I’m excited to try Challenge!!

Aleastrice says

Good afternoon. I know this is an old post but I was hoping you could clarify the scavenger hunt game for me. Am I correct in this interpretation of the game.You have different problems and answers posted around the room? And the students are to solve the problem and identify which answer goes to which problem? Thank you!

Tyne Brack says

Almost. Here is a link to a post with a better explanation. Hope that helps!

Becki says

We love SCOOT as well as I Have, Who Has? games. These types of games can be fun for all subjects and we use them for a fun way to review before an assessment. The only downside I see to I Have, Who Has? is that once a student’s card has been called, and their turn is over, they sometimes feel they no longer have to pay attention.

Noelle Pickering says

Great thoughts, Becki!

A.C. says

Heads Up (as in the Ellen D. show) is a great review game for vocabulary terms. I write or type terms on index cards. Kids are usually already in groups of 4 so I have them pair up. One holds the card on their forehead so the partner can see the term. The partner has to describe or define the term so that the other can guess the answer. If the person describing the term doesn’t know the definition they can use their interactive notebook or phone to look it up.