1, 2, 3…Draw!! (a fun math warm-up)

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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Looking for a fun way to begin your math lessons? Your students will BEG to play this warm-up game every day. It’s easy and can work with pretty much any age group and almost any math concept.

Here’s how it goes:

  1. Have two students stand back to back at the front of the room, with their fingers raised like outlaws with “guns.” (If you don’t like the “gun” part, skip it.)
  2. The students at their desks can follow along with mini white boards or black boards, or paper.
  3. Now, call out a math equation. Every time you add a step in the equation, the students take a step away from each other, while computing the problem silently in their heads. Students at their desks solve the equation silently, as well. (See example below.)
  4. Then, whenever you decide the equation is over, say “Draw!” and the students turn quickly, face each other, and blurt out the answer. The first one to blurt it out correctly wins the “draw.” Simultaneously, students at their desks can silently hold up their whiteboards/blackboards with their answers written on them.
  5. Acknowledge the winner with verbal praise, and also acknowledge the students at their desks who have the correct answer on their boards.

To make this more clear, here’s an example:

Say: 5 + 6 (students step apart and silently compute 11 in their heads).

You keep going: + 12 (they step and think 23).

You say: – 3 (they step and think 20).

Plus 2 (step, 22).

Divided by 2…DRAW!

They spin around and shout out 11!

This can be really easy or really challenging depending on 1) how complicated your equations are and 2) how fast of a pace you keep. You can also write the steps to the equation on the board while you say them out loud, for the visual learners.

This is a great activity to sharpen both math AND listening skills…and it’s just a whole lot of fun to boot.

For some more math games, check out this fun activity book called Math Games that Teach.


1 Comment

Filed under Critical Thinking, Geometry, Math, Multiplication, Uncategorized

One response to “1, 2, 3…Draw!! (a fun math warm-up)

  1. peggy

    I LOVE THIS! What a great way to promote mental math. My kids love competition. This will be right up their alley! Thanks again for another great idea. We play math relay up at the board to see who can solve the math problem the fastest, but I love that they are doing the math in their heads and it is multi step problems. Thanks!