Let’s reinforce math skills in your elementary classroom by adding some standards-focused digital Build It! Math activities.
I am constantly amazed at how many toys on the market are just for building.
Kids seem to love collecting pieces and building new things, whether they are logs, bricks, ice cream, or even sandwich pieces.
This is obviously nothing new to teachers who may have single-handedly kept the building-toy businesses going over the years. Teachers get that kids like to make things, so we encourage building of all types in our classrooms.
So, what if you can engage this builder’s drive and combine that with games meant to reinforce math skills?
These Build It! Math activities do just that!
Read on to learn how you can use Build It! Math resources to reinforce math skills in your elementary classroom, but make sure to check out the BONUS IDEAS at the end of the post to see even more ways you can use these resources in your classroom!
What is Build It! Math?
Build It! Math resources are engaging activities that reinforce math skills by allowing students to practice grade-level appropriate math problems in a fun, no-fail way.
Students will solve math word problems, and when they get an answer correct, they will “unlock” the next part of the form, giving them the next piece of the item they are trying to build.
Immediate Assessment and Feedback
Answer keys are provided for the resources, and all activities can be shared with students through Google Form™ links. If you aren’t familiar with Google Forms™ or how to use them in your classroom, this blog post can help!
If students get answers wrong, they will immediately be prompted to try again. This method gives students a self-directed, no-fail way to reinforce math skills.
Each resource includes two levels, so you can pick the one that is most appropriate for your students. Since both versions look similar, students will not know that they have a slightly different version, allowing you to reinforce math skills in a way that will enable all students to work at a level that was specifically chosen just for them.
Rating and Assessing
Sometimes it is hard to know how difficult activities are for students, especially when they are prompted to try again after providing an incorrect answer.
That is why I have included a rating page at the end of each Build It! Math resource where students can self-assess their experience.
On the final page of the form, students will be prompted to rate the difficulty level of the assignment and then submit their work. Teachers can then review the student’s responses to make decisions and plan accordingly.
Reinforcing Core Math Skills
These Build It! Math resources are geared toward specific core standards.
You can see the complete list of our current Build It! Math resources, as well as the standards they align with below!
Build It! Bundles
Look through all the different Build It! Math activities below!
All resources are available individually, but they can also be bundled together if you want a better deal!
- Place Value Word Problems: Build a Taco! (CCSS 3.NBT)
- Rounding Word Problems: Build a Dog! (CCSS 3.NBT.1)
- Addition & Subtraction Word Problems: Build a Cactus! (CCSS 3.NBT.2)
- Multiplication Word Problems: Build a Caterpillar! (CCSS 3.OA.3)
- Division Word Problems: Build a Cake! (CCSS 3.OA.3)
- 2-Step Word Problems: Build a Sandwich! (CCSS 3.OA.D.8)
- Fraction Word Problems: Build a Rocket! (CCSS 3. NF.A 1,2,3)
- Measurement Word Problems: Build a House! (CCSS 3.MD.A)
- Area & Perimeter Word Problems: Build a Monster! (CCSS 3.MD.C&D)
- Place Value Word Problems: Build a Sundae! (CCSS 4.NBT.2)
- Multiplication Word Problems: Build a Robot! (CCSS 4.NBT.B.5)
- Fraction Word Problems: Build a Burger! (CCSS 4.NF.B.4C)
- Measurement Word Problems: Build a Pizza! (CCSS 4.MD.A.2)
- Area & Perimeter Word Problems: Build a Fish Bowl! (CCSS 4.MD.A.3)
- Addition & Subtraction Word Problems: Build a Castle! (CCSS 4.NBT.B.4)
- Division Word Problems: Build a Monster! (CCSS 4.NBT.B.6)
- Patterns Word Problems: Build a Bug! (CCSS 4.OA.5)
- Decimals Word Problems: Build a Car! (CCSS 4.NF.C.6)
This bundle is designed slightly differently. Rather than just having 2 levels for each resource, there are three. Each resource covers grades 3-5 and works on 2-step word problems.
- Back to School: Build a Lunchbox!
- Halloween: Build a Frankenstein!
- Thanksgiving: Build a Turkey!
- Christmas: Build a Gingerbread House!
- Winter: Build a Snowglobe!
- Valentine’s Day: Build a Heart Monster!
- St. Patrick’s Day: Build a Leprechaun!
- Spring: Build a Bunny House!
- Summer: Build a Tree House!
If you are anything like me, you love learning new ways to use resources, and we have some great ideas for using the Build It! Math resources in different ways.
#1 | Races
- Assign one of the Build It! Math activities to your class, and put students in groups.
- On the board (where students can see it), list the items they will earn throughout the activity.
- Give each group a magnetic marker to mark their spot on the board.
- Then say GO!
- As each group works through the activity, if they get a question right and earn a piece of the thing they are trying to build, one student will run to the front of the room and move their marker down the board – tracking their progress.
- The first group that makes it to the bottom of the board, collecting all of their pieces first, wins the race!
#2 | Whole-Group Fun
Rather than having students work on this activity individually, students can Build It! as a whole group!
- Give students magnetic sticky notes like these.
- Then project one of the Build It! Math resources on the board for all to see.
- Show students the first question.
- Students will write answers on their magnetic sticky notes. They will then take the sticky notes to the front of the room and place them on the board.
- The teacher will begin moving through the answers, putting each in the answer slot one at a time until the correct answer is revealed.
- Then, the magnetic notes will be handed back out, and the group will move on to the next question.
#3 | 3D Magic
This is for the teachers who like to go above and beyond!
3D printers are all the rage right now, and there is a good chance that one exists somewhere in your school district. There may even be a middle or high school class that uses them regularly.
Collaborate with one of those classes or teachers to see if they can create some stackable 3D pieces that go along with your Build It! Math activities. Then your students can physically build their items as they earn them.
The great thing about this is that it benefits both classes, and once they are built, you can use them for years to come!
Note: Some of the Build It resources will be easier to modify into this type of project than others, so I would give the older students the list of resources you’re planning to use and let them decide which one they want to build.
#4 | One-Last Question
Give your students a chance to create their own questions and extra items for their Build It! Math activity.
- When students complete the activity, they will create one last question to be added to the activity.
- The student will write a question similar to the ones they just solved to build their picture. Then, they will provide 4 possible answers and a secret item that could be added if answered correctly.
- Once everyone is finished, project the final image on your board. Then go through each student’s question. Answer them as a class.
- When the correct answer is provided, have the student draw his or her secret item on the Build It.
Example: If students are doing the 4th grade Build a Burger activity, an additional, student-created question may be…
If Ronald had 16 pickles in his jar, but he wanted to use ⅛ of them to make a sandwich, how many would still be in the jar? (The mystery item the student chose to give is french fries.)
Once the group answers this question, the student will draw a pile of fries next to the burger.
If you use the Build It! Math resources frequently in your classroom, assign a few students to do this each time. It can be a special privilege that students can earn. It may be helpful to review the questions before they are presented to the class in order to double-check answers.
‘One Last Question’ is just a fun little add-on that pushes kids and lets them get creative with the content.
#5 | Make Your Own
After students are familiar with how the Build It activities work, encourage them to create their own based on another topic you’re studying.
If the class is studying climates, challenge them to create their own questions and pictures using construction paper and posters. They might build a rainforest, snowy mountain, or beach resort.
Once they’ve created their questions and pictures, the groups can ‘play’ the various Build It activities to review the content.
Obviously, these will not be self-checking, but the groups can create answer keys for other groups to reference.
The best part of this activity is taking a concept the students are familiar with and giving them a chance to get creative.
Remember, students like to build things, so letting them ‘build’ their own activity would align with their interests.
Build It into YOUR Plans!
Build It! Math activities reinforce math skills and inspire students to think creatively. The mystery of the picture and the appropriate skill levels of the questions make these resources the perfect supplementary activity to many 3rd-5th grade math units.
Plus, by grabbing the Build It! Math bundles for your classroom to use throughout the year, you can add on a few of the bonus activities to shake things up and get your students even more involved!