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Bring in a huge jar of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Have the students work at one large table or break them up in groups with four participants in each group. Each student in a group will be in charge of one of the types of coins.
The goal is to have the students come up with different groupings of these coins to add up to 25¢.
As adults we forget that just quickly finding the answer for 10 more or 10 less than a specific number can be a feat of mental gymnastics for children. For your first or second grade class this is a great way to get their mental juices going.
Start with a number you pick and write on the board. Then come up with a rule in your head and write the result on the board.
Now leave it to students to figure out what operation you performed to come up with your result.
You can adjust this mental math activity based on the level of your students.
Here’s a fun game that you can play with the students in your classroom to get their mental juices going! Begin with a simple whole number like 5. Then start giving the students operations that they should perform in their heads. Use a variety of all four operations and make sure the directions you give will yield whole numbers.
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