Discover Me: A Mathematical Adventure to Understanding Ourselves

Hello, fellow math enthusiasts, educators, and lifelong learners! Today, I want to introduce you to a fantastically engaging and educational activity that I’ve named “Discover Me”. This game takes an innovative spin on the traditional “Math About Me” activity, transforming it into an interactive learning adventure that students will love. The best part? It can be easily adapted to meet various student needs and requires no additional print resources. Just gather some everyday classroom items such as a standard deck of playing cards, dice, coins, base ten blocks, unifix cubes, and let the mathematical fun begin!

Setting the Scene

Setting the right context for this game is critical to student engagement. Start by having an engaging discussion about how we encounter numbers in our everyday lives – from our ages to the number of family members, our shoe sizes to our waking hours. Frame this conversation to help students understand that numbers are, quite literally, everywhere. Numbers aren’t just about arithmetic; they’re the language we use to interpret the world around us and ourselves.

Gameplay Instructions

Here’s where the fun begins! You’ll need a deck of playing cards for this part of the activity. Start by explaining the value each face card represents. Let the Jacks stand for 11, Queens for 12, and Kings for 13. If you want to incorporate higher numbers, you could even assign numbers beyond 13 to the Joker cards.

Once everyone understands the values of the face cards, it’s time to play. You’ll ask students a series of questions about themselves that will require numerical answers. For each question, the students will use their deck of cards to create a simple arithmetic equation that equals their answer.

For instance, if you ask, “How old are you?” a 12-year-old student could use a Queen (12) or they might opt for a creative combination, like a Jack (11) + Ace (1). The aim is to get the students thinking about numbers in a new and exciting way.

Make sure to emphasize that there’s no single correct answer! Encourage creativity and remind them that they can use addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division as needed.

Game Play Examples

Here’s an example game scenario for better understanding:

Let’s say you ask your students, “How many people are there in your family?” Now, a student with a five-member family might arrange the cards to depict 2+3 or 5, while another student with a family of four might choose 2*2 or 4.

Remember to diversify the questions you ask! The favorite number question is always a hit – “What’s your favorite number, and how many different ways can you represent it using your cards?” It’s amazing to see the creativity students bring to their answers.

Here are 20 creative, personal, and math-related questions that can be used for the “Discover Me, Digitally” game:

Possible Questions To Ask:

  1. How old are you?
  2. How many people are there in your family?
  3. What is the sum of your birth month and birth day? (For example, if their birthday is on July 20, they would add 7 + 20.)
  4. How many pets do you have at home?
  5. How many letters are there in your first name?
  6. What’s your favorite number?
  7. How many siblings do you have?
  8. What is the number of your house or apartment?
  9. How many hours do you typically sleep each night?
  10. What is your shoe size?
  11. How many books did you read last month?
  12. How many languages do you speak?
  13. How many states or countries have you visited?
  14. What is your lucky number?
  15. How many minutes does it take for you to get to school?
  16. How many days are there in your favorite month of the year?
  17. How many close friends do you have?
  18. What’s the highest score you’ve ever gotten in a game you’ve played?
  19. How many cousins do you have?
  20. How many different schools have you attended so far?

Accommodations and Modifications

Every classroom is unique, so it’s essential to ensure this activity is accessible and engaging for all students. You can easily differentiate “Discover Me” based on your students’ varying needs.

For students who struggle with math, allow them to use physical counters such as dice, coins, or blocks to help visualize their equations. This hands-on approach can make abstract concepts more concrete.

For English language learners or students who might struggle with language-based instructions, consider using visual aids or demonstrate examples before starting the game.

For advanced students, consider integrating larger numbers, challenging them to use only multiplication and division, or encouraging them to find multiple ways to represent each answer.

Discover Me – All About Me Back to School Game

“Discover Me” is more than just a fun math game. It is an engaging activity that intertwines the personal lives of our students with the universal language of mathematics. By playing this game, students will recognize the omnipresence of numbers and start appreciating the beauty of mathematics, all while getting to know each other better.

As teachers, we want to provide our students with unique and creative learning experiences. With “Discover Me”, we can do just that – all with the simple, effective, and fun use of everyday classroom items.

Aligning with Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

This game aligns with several CCSS, including:

  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.CC.B.4 (Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality)
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.OA.B.3 (Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract)
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.OA.B.2 (Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies)
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.3.OA.B.5 (Apply properties of operations as strategies to multiply and divide)

Please feel free to tailor the game to your students’ needs and abilities to meet additional standards as required.

Remember, the goal of “Discover Me” isn’t just to practice arithmetic. It’s also about helping our students see themselves in mathematics and making math a fun, relatable, and integral part of their lives. Happy teaching, and I can’t wait to hear how your students enjoy “Discover Me”!

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