Interactive Math Warm-Up Idea

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by Elizabeth D. Cossick, M. Ed.

So, you’re looking for a fun way to begin your math class each day. It needs to be quick, engaging and easy to execute. Well, look no further because we’ve got a great one that students of ALL ages love–and it seriously couldn’t be easier.


Mini white or black boards (one per child)

White board marker or piece of chalk (one per child)


  1. Pass out white/black boards and respective writing instruments to your students. Tell them that they will use their board to participate in some fun math races.
  2. Then, simply call out math equations that are on-par with your class’s ability level or current topics of study. Everything from simple addition to complex long division and algebra equations will work for this activity.
  3. The students solve the problems and write the answer on their boards as quickly as possible. When they have their answer written, they silently hold their board above their heads.
  4. Award small prizes daily (or keep track of points and award a larger prize, like a full-sized candy bar, to one “Math Champion” each month). Prizes can be awarded for: first correct answer, second correct answer, third correct answer (to keep students working even after the first board gets raised into the air), neatest writing, or best display of steps (if “show your work” is a necessary instruction).
  5. At the end of the activity, you can collect the boards or allow students to keep them in their desks for drawing and writing when they finish their work.

Your students will look forward to this fast-paced activity…almost as much as they’ll look forward to writing on their own white/black board!

Helpful Hints: Laminated pieces of white poster board, cut into 9 x 12 sheets, also make good erasable boards for use with dry erase markers. They may have to be replaced after a few months, but they’re cheap and easy to make. And, old (clean :) socks make great erasers, as well as holders for chalk and white-board markers.

To purchase mini white or black boards and pens/chalk, visit The School Box…or check out these links:



Filed under Geometry, Math, Motivation, Multiplication, Test Prep

2 responses to “Interactive Math Warm-Up Idea

  1. We do this all the time. They love it. Who doesn’t like a little competition now and then? I also make relay teams and the first person in each team comes to the front and I say a problem. The first person to answer it corrrectly gets a point for their team. We are doing this right now with 2-3 digit addtion and subtraction facts. They beg me to play math relay. It is fun!

  2. Jeanne Jones

    Instead of laminated poster board, buy shower board at a local building store (Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc.) and have it cut in 10″ x 12″ pieces. Sometimes they will do the cutting for free. Just tell them you are a teacher. Use dry erase markers and old socks for erasing. These will last for years.