Algebraic Thinking Activities: Fun with Monster Math

We don’t celebrate Halloween at my school, but we DO like to have a little fun.  There are so many cute monster books out there–so I like to do some “monster work” in the fall! I haven’t had any monster MATH until now! Check out these great ways to teach algebraic thinking and problem solving with a fun monster theme!

Get inspired with Monster Math!

Monster Math with a Purpose

What was my goal? To get students thinking deeply about math and recognizing that they can use patterns, guess and check, and other strategies to help them understand! This is basic computation—but using the brain in an entirely different way than a fill-in-the-blank worksheet.

I came up with TWO different kinds of challenges:

Multi-step word problem work is so important!

  • Multi-step, differentiated word problems that ask students to make sense of the problem and use a variety of strategies to solve them. Fast finishers? Have them do part 2! As you know, doing multi-step word problems can be a challenge, but they are also a key part of most sets of rigorous standards.
  • “Balance cards” which are perfect to develop algebraic thinking! Students need to use the information given to keep the scale balanced while figuring out how much each type of monster weighs.  This concept of “equal” is so important.  Here is another blog post if you want to read more!

See the sample card to see more of what I mean! I thought you might be interested–whether you want them for some non-Halloween math or just for fun.  Don’t you just think the monsters are too dang cute?  As a bonus, the math is both rigorous and fun.

Algebraic Thinking activities build number sense!

I need flexibility–how about you?

Because teachers are both in-person and virtual, I knew I wanted ultimate flexibility so I made these problems in four formats:

  • Full-color cards that are perfect to project
  • 4 per page color task cards for printing as task cards
  • 4 per page black and white task cards for printing on colored paper or using in notebooks

digital slides for monster math tasks!

Let students create their OWN Monster Math!

There are even blank templates so students can try making up their own problems—a totally different way to use their brains! It’s one thing to solve problems, but it’s entirely another thing to be able to write your own.

If you want to check these out, just click the cover image below!

Monster Math problem solving