Are you thinking of hosting a math night at school? Math nights are a fun way to get family, friends, and community members involved in math instruction at your school. There are dozens of fun activities, games, and centers that would make fantastic math night stations! Today I’m sharing some tips for setting up a successful math night plus some fun activities to include in your lineup!
Tips for Planning a Math Night
A family math night is a great way to get families involved in their kid’s math studies. It gives students a chance to show off the skills they’ve learned so far. This is also a great way to challenge students by introducing new skills or riddles that will require the assistance of their families.
You can easily plan a math night with the help of your fellow math or grade level teachers. Plan math stations through the multi-purpose room or hallways so participants can spread out. Keep activities short and engaging. Provide a mix of math challenges and riddles with hands-on math manipulatives and activities. (Remember, you want this to feel like a fun night for your students, not like more school work!)
If you’re in need of funds for your math night, consider asking local businesses like banks, credit unions, and financial planners to sponsor your event. They can help run tables or stations while helping to show students how important math is in our everyday lives.
When to Host a Math Night
You can host a math night at any time throughout the year. Although I do suggest holding your family math night or school math night toward the end of the year. There are many reasons for pushing this event into the last few months of the school year:
- Students can show off the math skills they’ve learned from the entire school year
- It can be a great way to help review for end of the year testing
- You can use math night as a way to present math awards from the year
- Treat math night as a reward for the hard work students have put in all year long in math class
Activities for Math Night
There are so many fun activities you can plan for math night. Think outside the box and plan activities to challenge participants while creating a fun, competitive atmosphere.
Remember to have some “downtime activities” available in case your stations get busy or there is congestion. Here are a few ways to keep participants busy and having fun while they wait for stations:
- Photo booth area with props
- Guess the number jars
- Dance area with Flocabulary math songs
You may already use board games in your classroom for early finishers, math stations, and extra skill practice. Board games make a great math night activity. You can set up board game stations throughout your event space. If you use printable board games, you’ll be able to easily set up multiple stations for the same game, which will alleviate any congestion and allow more families to participate at once.
Be sure to use a mix of skills in your board games. You should include games that practice skills your students are very familiar with as well as games that will challenge them. You can even set up small prize stations for the winners of each game. If you are using games that the participants end with a score, create a fun scoreboard, and throughout the night families can add their score to the scoreboard.
If you’ve assigned a student created game board project, this is a great opportunity for students to show off their design. Allow students to set up their game board creations for math night and invite their friends and family to try out their game!
If you need some math game board suggestions, here are some of my favorites that I use in the classroom. These would make fantastic math night stations!
- Positive and Negative Numbers Game
- Measurement Conversions Game
- Writing Equations from Word Problems
Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store for over 200 printable board games that are great for math night, family science night, math centers, and more!
Be sure to grab lots of colored paper, game pawns, and game board supplies to have on hand if you plan to make game board stations!
Around The School Scavenger Hunt or Passport Activity
Have you used “around the room” or “write the room” activities in your classroom? These activities are like mini scavenger hunts where students move around the room solving problems or finding answers. You can use this type of activity on a much larger scale for your math night!
Create an “Around the School Math Challenge”. Students, family, and friends will start at one station and answer math questions or riddles. You can set it up so they must complete a predetermined number of stations or create a scavenger hunt so they have to complete one station to get the location of the next station. This is a great activity to really get parents and family members involved.
You could also create a Mathematics Passport activity using a similar setup. Design or print generic passport cards that each group will need to have “stamped” as they complete each math station. Offer small prizes or awards for those who complete all the stations during the evening.
Math night prizes could include:
- Fun calculators
- Themed pencils
- Math manipulative kits (tangrams, linking cubes)
- Fun math books
Another great way to use this type of activity is to set it up as an increasing skill activity. Problems would begin at an easy level and continue to increase in difficulty. Groups would earn points or prizes based on how far through the hunt they were able to successfully answer problems or riddles.
If you want to mix up the problems for each group, use spin and answer games at your stations. This will ensure each group or participant gets a unique problem since they’ll be using the spinner to “create” the problem!
These activities are perfect if you have a lot of space to work with (up and down the hallways, individual classrooms) and want to keep traffic moving throughout the event. You’ll need station monitors to check answers at each station unless you use a recording sheet and have participants’ answers checked at the end of the night.
Math Manipulative Stations
One of the favorite tools in my classroom are the math manipulatives. Students love getting their hands on the tangrams puzzles, unifix cubes, and geoboards in my class! You can create fun challenges and activities using these tools that you probably already have on hand.
There are tons of free tangram puzzles online that you can simply print. These are great for younger siblings who might tag along to math night. You can also make them a bit more challenging by using solid shaded designs for the kids to fill in or even having them create their own designs.
Geoboards also make for another fun, open-ended math station. Set up small challenges using free geoboard task cards. Design intricate geoboard samples and ask students to locate and label shapes they find in the design. This is a great activity for practicing classifying types of triangles and quadrilaterals.
Hosting fun themed nights at school is a great way to have fun with your students and their families. Family science night, math night, talent show, science fair, and book club are great ways to get your families involved with their students’ educations. There are so many ways you can make this night not only exciting but also educational. Be sure to add math night to your school’s list of proposed events this year!