In math, whether the stations are based on Math Daily 3, Math League, or another form of stations, math station ideas are always useful. More importantly, the station ideas can be easily and effectively adapted to the form of stations. As a result, I have created this section to provide a list of station ideas that I use for math, which can all be adapted for various concepts and/or topics within the math curriculum across grade levels. These station ideas can be used throughout the year, making it easier for planning and executing math stations while also ensuring that students are consistently building mathematical reasoning and thinking. This means students will be able to analyze, categorize, classify, identify, match, regroup, and so much more. Ultimately, these station ideas are a way to build mathematical skills in our students, as they navigate a content area that is typically a point of tension for many students.
Station Ideas for the Classroom
Bingo: As stations go, this is one of the most commonly used ideas for many content areas. In a math station, bingo can be used for a variety concepts, which can be played individually or in small groups. Measurement, for example, is one such concept. The bingo scorecard can be related to converting measures (e.g. cm to m), measuring with a rule, or measuring with non-standard units. In order to plan this station idea, there has to be a bingo sheet with answers corresponding to the questions. This should also include bingo coins to help students keep track. The questions should be written on cards, which students can go through until they get a row in the bingo sheet whether diagonally, horizontally, or vertically. As a way to assess this, I have students play bingo on their own, and work on their questions on a whiteboard if necessary. This helps when I go around the stations to observe their work and provide support.
Boom: This works exactly like Boom for sight words, but with math concepts instead, although I would suggest using it less frequently if it is already used for teaching sight words. Here, the station idea can be tweaked to include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division. It can also be used for concepts like reading fractions or telling time by labelling the popsicle sticks.
Choice Work: This is a station idea that I use from time to time, which works well for an independent seat work station. Each students receives a folder or a pouch with three different activities around the same topic. Students have the choice to work on one, two, or all of the activities within the provided time frame. The choices usually include one concrete, one pictorial, and one abstract component. For example, if we are learning about perimeter, I would include an activity using a Geoboard for the concrete part of the choice work.
Math Mat: I have altered this from the traditional math mat, but to each their own. For the math mat station, I have a math mat similar to a number chart of 25-100 boxes depending on the grade level along with a set of cards with questions on them. Students have to go through the cards to fill the chart until they go through all of cards. For example, one card will read, "Mark X on 3x3," which means the student has to mark "X" on the number 9 on the math mat (or number chart). This is a really useful formative assessment for number sense and numeration.
Math Sorts: Students have to sort cards into their respective categories. I print a few blank math sort templates and laminate them. I also print a few math sort blank cards, cutting them to make about 15-18 cards. Then, I write the categories on the blank math sort templates, and make the cards accordingly. The example below shows three categories: halves, thirds, and quarters. Students have to sort the cards into one of the categories.
Puzzle Problem: Each student starts off with one puzzle piece that includes a math question, but there is a bit of a problem. The other puzzle pieces are missing. Have students solve the question on the starting puzzle piece. The answer to that will lead them to the next puzzle piece. While this takes a bit of thinking, the Puzzle Problem station idea is a really engaging activity to use from time to time. It can be solved individually, in pairs, or in small groups, and it serves as a form of assessment because students have to write their answer on each puzzle piece.
Reading with Math: At this station, students are able to read books or texts that are related to the math topic. While most literature does not include math, there are tons of books around math concepts such as counting, fractions, and measurement, to name a few examples.
Show Me: I have students work on a math concept using manipulatives, as a way to "show me" how they can concretely solve a problem. One example can be seen when students are learning about tens and ones. Provide students with a tens/ones board, tens/ones manipulatives, and a deck of cards with different numbers (e.g. 9, 15, 26) on them. Then, students have to go through the cards to show their work on the board (e.g. the tens/ones board). For some students, it could also be helpful to include an assessment sheet, where they record their work through a pictorial representation.
Task Cards: Here, students are provided with several task cards, which include questions that they have to solve around a specific objective. Task cards can include fill-in-the-blanks, multiple choice questions, word problems, and much more. As an example, the Not So Wimpy Teacher provides place value tasks cards. Rachel Lynette has several math task cards, including one on measurement. Once I find or make the task cards, I like to have students use a whiteboard when working through the problems, but they can also solve the problems in a notebook if the task cards are to be used as a form of evaluation. In the latter, students can glue the task cards into their math notebooks as a way to keep track of their work. As students solve problems on their whiteboards, I circulate the classroom to work with students one-on-one or in small groups to facilitate their learning.
Worksheet Wonder: This is just an interesting name for a standard station idea. In this activity, students work through a math worksheet related to the concept to demonstrate what they have learned and what they might be struggling with. In Math League, the Seat Work station is basically a worksheet approach. If using Math Daily 3 instead, I would include this at the Math by Myself station, where students work on laminated worksheets.