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Fun and Engaging Math Warm-Ups for Your Math Block

Math warm-ups are highly engaging, yet short opening routines…Real short. Depending on how much time you have in your math block, 5 – 7 minutes short.

boy excited about math warm ups

When used as a daily routine, math warm-ups help build a positive classroom culture where kids are eager to participate. In addition, they also provide opportunities for students to practice and review previously taught skills.

There are a wide variety of engaging warm-up activities that you can do with your students, let’s run down the list so you can choose one that’s right for you and your kids.

daily math schedule with activities for math warm-ups highlighted

Math Warm-Up Activity #1:

Problem of the Day

Having a problem of the day or a problem of the week is a surefire way to get students to think critically about the math skills you’ve taught.

It’s best to use high-quality questions that can be answered in multiple ways.

math problem of the day question in a math journal

Use these as a warm-up activity if…you want to give your kids opportunities to develop deeper conceptual understanding.

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Math Warm-Up Activity #2:

Math Talk Routines

This is one of my favorite ways to start the math block. If you want to get your students into the habit of talking about math, then you’ve got to have a structure for them to do just that.

Math talk routines are the perfect way to generate meaningful math conversations and provide opportunities for children to use mathematical vocabulary.

Use these as a warm-up activity if…you want a clear structure to talk about important math topics.

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Math Warm-Up Activity #3:

Number of the Day

Number of the Day activities are a tried and true way to improve number sense. For this simple routine, children interact with a number and complete a variety of number sense skills. For example:

  • more and less
  • odd and even
  • place value
  • decomposing

If you use this as one of your math warm-up activities, your students will quickly learn what to expect because it’s the same activities but with a different number.

Use this as a warm-up activity if…your students need extra support with building number sense.

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Mix It Up!

When choosing activities that are right for your classroom, you can use the same warm-up activity for a period of time and then switch to another one later, OR you can mix it up every week!

It all depends on your purpose.

Either way, including math warm-up routines at the beginning of your math block increases student engagement, improves critical math thinking, and creates a positive classroom culture. And now you know three ways to do it!

Check out one of these activity types to see which best fits your classroom.