4th Grade Math Centers

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Get information on how to set up a math centers for your 4th grade classroom with this article. You'll find general tips regarding math centers and some specific activities, along with educational resources you can use with your students to enhance their learning.

Guidelines for Math Centers

Math centers are a great way to support and reinforce the mathematical concepts your students are learning in class. They can and should be customized to fit the needs of your students, so you have a lot of freedom with how you can design your centers. You can choose to keep it simple with a reading station that includes lots of material about the math subject you're currently working on, or go for fun and interactive with centers that focus on activities and games. Math centers also give you a chance to see how your students are progressing and how well they're doing with math topics you've taught to them.

However, there are some basic guidelines to keep in mind while you create your math centers!

Centers work best when they're used every day. This makes them a part of your students' educational routine. Students also get the most benefit when the stations are regularly updated to stay current with what they're learning in class. A station that still has addition activities when you've moved on to multiplication isn't going to help your students very much. Additionally, centers are the most beneficial when they're not swamped with all your students at once. Having 2-6 students use a center at a time is best.

You should also make sure your students understand the rules of center time. Make sure to go over how they should treat each other and the activities at the center. Going over the rules for any new activities or games is a good idea to make sure students get the most from the center. Your presence and input during new centers are invaluable. This gives you the opportunity to sort out any difficulties students might have with activities before holding them responsible for their own work. During future sessions, have students who need assistance ask three other students for help before coming to you. By doing this, students can use problem solving skills, and you can continue to work with small groups or individual students without interruption.

Math Center Activities

Multiple Minutes

Use this activity to help students have fun while learning about multiples.

You'll Need:

  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Bag
  • Index cards
  • A timer or stopwatch

What to Do:

Prepare for this activity by making 100 cards with paper (you can also use index cards and cut them into smaller cards). Now use the marker to print the first 10 multiples of the numbers 2-10 individually on your cards. Some multiples repeat. If they do, you don't need to make extra cards. All of these multiples go in the bag.

Now use the other index cards to write the numerals 2-10. You're all prepared!

To play, have each student draw an index card and collect a piece of paper. Have them record their number on the paper. You will then draw a multiple from the bag (or you can have students take turns picking these out!). If the number drawn from the bag is a multiple of the number your student picked, they can write it down.

Have students keep on drawing numbers and writing them down for 60 seconds. The student with the most multiples when the timer sounds is the winner!

Quick Tip:

This activity is a great way to get students interested in multiples. You can reinforce what they're learning with this chapter on multiples of whole numbers. You'll find lots of fun video lessons and interactive quizzes throughout this study resource to share with your students.

Math Problem War

This great game is easy to adapt to any of the mathematical concepts you're teaching in class.

Supplies:

  • Playing cards (face cards removed)
  • Scrap paper and pencils

Directions:

Begin by dealing out all the cards to your students. They should keep their cards face down. To play, each student flips over two cards and then works out the problem. Then, depending on what they're studying in class, they will either multiply or divide the numbers. For example, if a student has an 8 and a 2, the math problem for multiplication would be 8 X 2=16. The student with the highest product wins all the cards in the hand. They can use the paper and pencil to work out the problems if they need to. Play continues until one player has all the cards or time runs out.

Quick Tip:

Give your students a chance to review these mathematical concepts even more with these chapters on multiplication and division. The short lessons in these chapters help students go over each step in multiplying and dividing to ensure they have a solid understanding of these areas of math.

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