math, review

Math Obstacle Course

The point has been reached in my 4th grade EDM curriculum where the kids start to really spread out as far as their abilities.  I knew I needed a review day but did not want to start at the whiteboard droning on.  Enter the math obstacle course!

The idea was simple: 5 different obstacles or stations, 3 volunteers, self-paced kids and a final project.  The five stations were:

  1. Rounding numbers
  2. Multi-digit multiplication
  3. Long division
  4. Build a Buck (adding and subtracting decimals)
  5. Fraction of Game

I recruited one fabulous parent volunteer to run the long-division station, had my fantastic special ed. teacher teach a different way of doing rounding, and then had the incredible ELL teacher teach at the multiplication station.  I ran the game stations and did various check-ins.

The students were told they had to complete all 5 obstacles before they could get to the final station; Build your Dream House using pattern blocks (they had to label them, so that was review all the way back to the 1st unit of the year).  They decided where they went, and then set their own pace.  Kid could get re-taught certain concepts if they needed it or they could choose to do the challenge questions right away and see if they completed the obstacle right away.
I drew a map of the obstacles on the board, explained the concepts, and off they went.  They loved it!  It was a bit of organized chaos, but the connections I was able to share with kids and witness them make just floored me.  All students completed all 5 obstacles, even those who needed some extra review, and they loved the creative final project.  Many of the students were eager to share their dream houses and all brought them home.  
I will definitely be doing this type of review again and could recruit more volunteers if needed.  To see the challenge questions and course card, click here for English version and here for Spanish version.

7 thoughts on “Math Obstacle Course”

  1. Oh I do wish I had set up a video camera, perhaps next time. I was just in the thick of it all enjoying the connections students were making and the responsibility they were taking as well. Sometimes it is just the simple ideas that make for the best teaching.

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