Providing Computation Practice Without Sacrificing Rigor or Engagement

Developing a deep understanding of different math operations and estimation is essential…but we want students to be fluent with computation too, right? Students NEED computation practice–whether they use concept-based strategies or a standard algorithm.  We also know that piling on worksheets isn’t the best option.  Students need a variety of experiences to do “computation practice” where the problems are presented in meaningful, engaging ways.  Check out some of these ideas instead!

Computation Practice Activities

From rolling dice to drawing cards, students can make up their own problems and solve in notebooks or on whiteboards.  This is FAR more fun for kids and accomplishes the exact same goal–computation practice without the monotony of a worksheet.  Students can work alone or in partners to get that math talk going!  I love my jumbo foam dice that I roll, we rearrange the numbers, and use those for solving problems.
You can even write a set of numbers on the board and ask students to solve different questions–like which two numbers will add to be closest to 5,000?  Or “What is the largest sum you can get by adding 3 of these numbers?” or “What is the difference between the largest and smallest number on the board?”.  Fun, engaging, and LOTS of practice!

Mind Boggling Math:

So many challenges here–and the kids love them!  They can be printed or used digitally, and there are 3 different versions available.  So much math.  Even MORE thinking!

Toss and Solve Cards:

These “Toss and Solve” cards are so easy to have on hand for centers, fast finishers, and more.  Roll the dice, make up problems, solve and check on the calculator!  Way more fun than a worksheet!

Toss and Solve Computation Practice Cards

Dollar Deal Games:

I have a ton of games for literally one dollar in my store that provide tons of computation practice in a fun way.  Check out THIS LINK to take you to my math games!

Real World Computation Practice

Solving a single word problem gives students the chance to do a little computation.  When you give students really meaningful “real world”, open-ended problem solving–they get TONS of practice adding, subtracting, or multiplying as they work to solve the challenges.  For example, in my “Fundraiser Challenge”, students are working to add and subtract over and over as they find how to plan a bake sale to raise money–and students aren’t even aware of how much practice they are getting!  They work to refine their estimation skills along the way as well.  This is HUGE–it builds engagement AND computational fluency.  I actually have three different bundles of these projects….

My students LOVE them!

Creative Problem Solving Experiences

Not all computation experiences need to be “fill in the blank”.  Check out these options!
Try putting the answer first!  These cards require students to think in totally different ways as they work to solve computational problems.  They give TONS of practice and allow for creative thinking and math talk. CLICK HERE to check them out! I have a ton of other task cards in my store as well, and task cards can be a great way to shake things up.  Project them.  Use them at centers.  Place them around the rooms for students to do in pairs.  Throw several on each desk group and have them work collaboratively until a timer rings, then pass them along.  TONS of practice!
addition and stubtraction computation practice cards
How about these challenge cards?  Students use the “challenge cards” and number cards to find solutions–they need to estimate and then do a TON of computation work to find solutions.  These are also great for reinforcing that there are often MANY solutions to problems!  The challenges start small and then use bigger and bigger numbers.  This makes them perfect to use several times throughout the year or with different groups of students.  I have even included a ton of whole-class challenges that can be done using the cards in this set.  My students love them. LOVE them. I have two versions….addition and subtraction and this one for multiplication.  See what you think!
Multiplication Challenge Task Cards
Anyhoo…I hope these ideas challenge you to shake things up in your classroom a little.  Get your students solving a TON of problems without simply filling in the blank!  Thanks for stopping by!  Click any image in this post to get more information about the resources described.

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addition and subtraction challenge cardsMultiplication challenge cards