Math Centers for Upper Elementary

Math Centers For Upper Elementary

Math work stations or math centers play a crucial role in my math instruction. They provide fun learning opportunities for students and give me time to work with guided math groups. You can learn more about the implementation and management of math work stations at this blog post. While I don’t begin math centers until the third week of the school year, I do try to plan a full set of activities for each of my math units. My first math unit is centered around place value and rounding, so all of my work station activities are based on place value and rounding. This blog post will give you an overview of each of my work station activities for my first math unit.

In this post:

Build a Number

In this activity, students play with a partner and take turns spinning a number. When they spin the number, they take a number card and place it on the table at the top of the page. Students are trying to build the largest number possible, so they have to strategically think about where to place their numbers. Students should play 10 rounds and record who wins each round. I have two versions of this. One with 4-digit numbers and one with 5-digit numbers. This is in both the 3rd grade and 4th grade place value unit.

Place Value Concentration

This game is more or less like any memory or concentration game. The only difference is that students will match the same number written in different forms. I have a 3rd grade version in the 3rd grade file and the 4th grade version in the 4th grade file.

Place Value Puzzles

In this activity, I print place value puzzles on card stock. I print the file twice on different colors, so students’ puzzle pieces don’t get mixed up. I cut them out and store them in plastic baggies. Students have to arrange the different puzzle pieces together to complete the puzzles. Once again, I have a third and fourth grade version of this activity! The third grade version goes through the thousands place, and the fourth grade version goes through the hundred thousands place.

Place Value Spinners

I also have two versions of this activity. Students use a paper clip to spin either a four or six digit number. Students will write two numbers in expanded form, two numbers in numeral form, and two numbers in written or word form.

Place Value Task Cards

There are 56 task cards in this pack that review almost all of the place value, rounding, and comparing number standards. I’ve tried to ask the questions in multiple ways so that students can think about place value and rounding in different ways.

Place Value War

This is one of my favorites! In this game students work with a partner and have a stack of number cards. They shuffle the number cards and place them face down in front of each other. Students take turns drawing a card, and the student whose card has the greatest value gets to keep both cards. After all the cards have been played, the student with the most cards wins. This is in both third and fourth grade place value units.

Number Line Task Cards

In this activity, I print the number line cards on cardstock and laminate them.Students use a dry erase marker to write on the cards. This is a great way to allow students to conceptually practice rounding. I’ve include easy cards with just tens all the way though thousands cards. These are also sold on TpT but are included in my third and fourth grade place value units.

Roll and Round

I’ve been using this activity for years, and I love it. It’s a fun rounding game involving dice. I definitely recommend using ten-sided dice rather than traditional 6-sided dice. In fact, that’s one of my favorite math manipulatives. I’ve included multiple versions of this in both third and fourth grade units. There are versions with 2-digit, 3-digit, and 4-digit numbers.

Spin a Number

This is another activity with two versions for third and fourth grade. Students play with a partner and are each given a number to begin with. Students then spin to determine what place value is changing and then spin again to determine by how much is the place increasing or decreasing. This is a great way to solidify students’ understanding of place value.

Spin a Word Problem

This is a fun way to get students interested in solving word problems. Rather than simply solving a word problem, they are writing the word problem! Students spin to determine an operation. There are multiple versions, so if students aren’t ready for multiplication and division, that’s fine! Then students spin to determine the setting of the word problem, as well as a number that must be included in the word problem. After students write their word problems, their work station partner should solve the word problem.

All of the stations above are included in my Third Grade Place Value Unit and Fourth Grade Place Value Unit, both are included in a year long bundles.

In my TpT Store, I have MANY other task card activities available! As the year progresses, I use these as review stations. For example, I have Fragmented Hundreds Charts that are perfect for third graders developing number sense, and I love my Place Value Scavenger Hunt, because it incorporates nonfiction reading skills.

I’m also sharing this FREE set of task cards that can be played the same way as the popular game SPOT-IT. The only difference is that students are spotting numbers! You can download it here!

I hope these ideas help you out a little. Let me know if you have any questions!

9 thoughts on “Math Centers for Upper Elementary”

  1. Ashleigh,
    I love your puzzles and work station math activities, but I can’t find the 3rd grade sets in your TpT store! And I tried to download the free “spot it” number game, but nothing happened. I’d love to use it in a few weeks when school starts.
    If you can help me in any way, I’d appreciate it!

  2. Ashleigh,
    I absolutely LOVE all of these ideas! I just bought the 3rd grade place value unit on your TPT store ( I followed the link from the post), but several of these activities are not included? The main ones I was looking for that are missing are “Roll and Round” and the number line task cards. I just wanted to clarify if I was just misunderstanding the post or if something was missing from the document I downloaded. Thanks so much! I appreciate all of your hard work!

      1. Hello! I’m just checking back in as I was planning for next year. I have redownloaded the file several times and am still unable to get to these activities? I am only getting one PDF, there isn’t a folder to to see a separate file.

  3. Hello, I really like your place value concentration, place value war, and place value puzzles but I cant seem to find them on your tpt store.

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