Math can be a touchy subject for many teachers. Here we have some activities and ideas that can liven up the hour a bit. All of theses ideas involve items you can find in that "junk drawer" I know we all have at home as well as in our classrooms. These activities are great starters, center activities, as well as whole group activities.

"Angle Sticks"
I'm not sure what the original idea from the creator was, but I love this idea for teaching angles. Students start geometry with angle in third grade and I had several who struggled with the idea of different angles. This would be a great way to visualize the 3 major type of angles they learn: acute, obtuse, and right. (courtesy of
Genius. Put velcro dots on the ends of popsicle sticks. Kids can make letters or shapes over and over again.

Here is a fun twist on the normal dice idea. Make it more fun for the students. Use them in small group or for class activities. (Courtesy of
This would be so much fun for my students

Self Start (or as I call it, "Bellwork")
An easy self start for the students. It gets their brain thinking "math." Never too hard for them and can be changed daily without any struggle. (courtesy of Visit
Love this for a self start

Telling Time
We do a bit with time in third grade and many of the kids struggle with the difference between the hour and minute hand; not only which is which, but also that the hour is shown and the minutes count by 5's. Here is a fun and easy activity to do with the students so they can visualize time. (Courtesy of

Awesome idea for teaching time

Classifying shapes can be hard. Many students have in their head that a triangle has to have all the sides the same length. This activity can emphasize that this is not always the case. Have them divide shapes between what it is and what it is not on each side of the paper.
(Courtesy of

Kite Fractions
Have students color a kite with squares. They can color how ever many they want each color as long as they are not all the same. Then they write the fractions of colors on the paper. Fun math assignment and also fun to hang in the classroom.
(Courtesy of
fraction kite

Fraction Sheets
This is a great idea when teaching fractions. It shows many different ways the fraction can be shown- not just as a pizza.
(Courtesy of
Fraction sheets

Rounding Rules
It seems that no matter how many times you teach it, kids have a hard time with rounding. Try putting this up in your classroom to act as a reminder of how to round.
(Courtesy of

This website has tons of fractions activities for kids. Check it out and have fun...
Fraction activities

Who can remember all the names of the polygons? Very few people, that's who. Here is a cute poster to hang up in your room for all the polygons from 3-12 sides.
(Courtesy of

Number Draw
Partners face each other with hands behind their back. One the count of "3" or when one says "draw", they pull their finger out from behind their back. Each hand has a number 1-5 on it. The first one to say the product of the two numbers gets a point. Can also be played with flash cards where the student has to solve the problem written down the fastest.
(Courtesy of
Fun for simple competition

Touch Money
This is an activity designed for the SMARTboard. It does cost $10 for the program but is a great interactive tool for teaching money.
(Courtesy of
This is an original interactive file (75 pages).  It is based on the TouchMoney kit by Cathy Haugen Faucher, published by PCI Education.

Many math games use dice and the kids can get a bit crazy with them. Here is a simple idea on how to keep the dice in one place and the kids never actually touch the dice.
(Courtesy of Lindsay Crawley)
 The kids can roll the dice without touching them

Place Value
Use Uno cards to work on place value. Have the students flip over 1, 2, 3, etc. cards and figure out which number has the largest value. Kids can work in teams to make it competitive trying to be the first to have the right answer.
(Courtesy of
Place value war.  I think for grade 5's I'll have them work up to flipping over 5+cards, arrange into what they believe is the highest place value, and include speed to make it more challenging.

Mean, Median, Mode, Range
Use a set of face cards for mean, median, mode, and range. Set them our for a center or a starter activity.
(Courtesy of
4th grade math