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Math Centers That Encourage Math Socialization

I just read an article that claimed the present practice of teaching math is void of any child interaction with the concepts. My experience is that math centers encourage talk about math concepts. Below are just a few math centers with their corresponding Common Core Standards listed. With a little creativity, math centers can be made for every Common Core Standard.



Students will trace and identify numbers from 0 – 10 in a junk heap. They will draw and color items of junk out of the numbers and share with their center peers. The game will reinforce recognition of the numbers 1 – 10 through repetitive sharing. Can be done on a larger piece of paper to accommodate numbers up to 20.

Materials Needed:

Copies of a picture of a junk heap with numbers randomly placed on the heap.

Pencils for drawing the items of junk.


Common Core Standard(s):


Write numbers from 0 to 20.



Students will identify which number is greater than or which one is less than, by taking turns to position the alligator’s mouth in the right direction between two numbers.

Materials Needed:

A double-sided, laminated representation of an alligator’s open mouth.

Two piles of number cards

Common Core Standard(s):


Compare two numbers between 1 and 10 presented as written numerals.



Students will determine what to buy for lunch within a certain price limit and represent the amount in coins.


Students can have their own boards and compare or work on one board together, alternating the account amounts for each participant.

Materials Needed:

Presentation board with the following:

  • A letter from the Cafeteria Lady on the left panel, stating “Your account has only ___________________ to spend for lunch today.” The blank can have two slots to insert a card with an amount or a Velcro dot.

  • An envelope on the bottom of the left panel with plenty of cards with different amounts a student could use to buy lunch.

  • A large menu on the center panel with graphic representation of various main entrees, sides and beverages and their prices.

  • Also on the center panel, a clear plastic envelope to hold copies of a chart with columns for listing menu choices, their cost, and how many half-dollars, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies each item will take.

  • On the right panel, a paper wallet of coin manipulatives or laminated pictures of coins with Velcro on the back.

  • Underneath the wallet, a brightly colored wall of five Velcro strips for students to display how many of each coin they are going to spend within their chosen limit.

Common Core Standard(s):


Solve world problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies using dollar and cent signs appropriately.


In this activity, dollar bills are not included. This encourages the students to work with dollar equivalents.



Students will follow clues to bring them to certain points in a scavenger hunt on campus, of which they will record.


Copies of gridded map of campus, with an x and y-axis.

Scavenger hunt items

Clues written on paper or post-its

Pencils to plot points where the items for the scavenger hunt are found.

Common Core Standard(s):


Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.

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