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Home » Blog » Math » Setup & Routines » 5 Collaborative Math Activities to Boost Number Sense

5 Collaborative Math Activities to Boost Number Sense

Math, Setup & Routines

Written by: Mary Kate Bolinder

Are your students struggling to engage with math instruction? We’ve got activities and lessons to encourage math collaboration between students. When students work together to learn a new skill, they are more likely to engage in a lesson overall. Keep reading to find out how you can use collaboration in math to increase student engagement and master number sense at the same time.

Ways to Increase Student Engagement in Math

Experts have long been interested in how students engage with math lessons. Student engagement is highest when teachers incorporate a multidimensional approach that takes into account four areas:

  1. General engagement – is the student ready to learn?
  2. Cognitive engagement – does the student currently have the cognitive skills to engage with the lesson?
  3. Emotional engagement – What feeling does the lesson create for the student? Are they anxious, excited, happy, frustrated? Is their negative or positive emotionality affecting the way in which they are able to understand the information presented to them?
  4. Social engagement – are there opportunities to discuss their thought process, struggles, solutions, and experience with the lesson?

It may come as no surprise that students who score higher on emotional and social engagement scale have better learning outcomes overall. Our Lucky to Learn Math Curriculum emphasizes collaboration and social learning routines.

According to one study, students who worked together to complete a task exhibited more exploratory behavior, learned faster, and completed tasks better than if they worked alone. If you’re tackling a tricky new subject, don’t shy away from using a cooperative learning plan. Research also shows that student-to-student cooperation “promotes greater efforts to achieve, more positive relationships, and greater psychological health than do competitive or individualistic efforts.” Our Lucky to Learn Math Curriculum encourages collaboration and community from the first lesson. Let’s dive into Unit 1 of Lucky to Learn Math – Building a Place Value Community!

Collaborative Math Activities

Each Lucky to Learn Math Lesson features a collaborative piece. After the warm-up, math chat, and mini lesson, it’s time for hands on collaboration! For more details on a step-by-step lesson, click here. Students love the lesson because it is hands on, and the best part – they get to work on it with a friend! Everything – especially math – is better with a friend nearby! Teachers love them because they are so easy to print and prep.

Check out some activities from Unit 1 to get students exploring, engaging and collaborating and building number sense.

1. 120 Chart puzzles

Print and cut these pieces of a 120 chart. Students will work together to put the 120 chart back together.

Download 120 Chart Puzzles HERE

2. Skip Counting to the Stars

Who doesn’t love a good board game? Students will blast off to the stars with this fun game that reinforces skip counting by 5 and 10 to 120.

Download Skip Counting to the Stars HERE

3. Shopping Sprint

It may look like a simple board game, but this collaborative game will get students thinking and talking about math concepts. Each block features an action that students have to perform, like naming all the even numbers under 10. The first person to the end is the winner (but really, everyone wins with this game as their math understanding grows!).

Download Shopping Sprint HERE

4. Guess My Number

In this collaborative guessing game, students will give ask questions and give clues to identify the right number in expanded form. The game even includes question prompts to get students talking like math scholars. Listen in as their conversation skills expand, too!

Download Guess My Number HERE

5. Connect 4 Pet Check Up

A creative spin on classic connect 4, and a culminating lesson on place value! Students will roll 3 dice. If their number matches with one of the rules on the game board, they get to cover it. The first student to get 4 in a row is the winner.

Download Connect 4 HERE


Looking for more collaborative math lessons? Check out our whole collection here. Questions about Lucky to Learn Math? Ask us in the questions below, and let’s collaborate!

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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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