First Day Games

31-Derful: The game is borrowed from Everybody is a Genius blog. I let students work alone or up to 3 partners. It’s great walking around and listening to the conversations and strategies. I do not allow the use of a calculator and so I have adapted this game to create goals for students who find this game too challenging/daunting. I tell them to create 5 rows that add up to 31 and not worry about trying to make the columns equal to 31, too.




Perfect 10: This game is similar to the I finished early…now what?? post. Students draw 5 cards and use as many operations as needed to get an answer of 10. However, the goal is to use as few or as many numbers as possible to get the answer of 10. Each problem they create gets a score based on how many numbers they used.

Some options might be:
5 + 5 = 10  –> 2 pts
9 + 5 – 4 = 10  –> 3 pts
9 – 5 + 4 + 9 – 7 = 10  –> 5 pts
(5*4)/(9-7) = 10  –> 4 pts

Cup Challenge: The idea was borrowed from In the Middle. I played this at the beginning of the year and had students share the challenge with their friends who wanted to play during lunch.

-Four pieces of yarn/string each about 1 ft long tied to a rubber band
-Plastic cups (enough for 6 cups per group of 4; I needed 48, but I purchased extra for a challenge)
-Index cards* (each with a number 1 – 4 on it; enough for each student to get a card)

*To keep the kids guessing and not switch cards before class starts in the future, I write “1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 1B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 1C, 2C, 3C, 4C,” etc on the cards and the next time I use the index cards, I will tell students to find everyone with their letter instead of numbers 1 -4.

When students enter, they get an index card to help create the groups. 1: Materials collector. 2: Materials collector #2. 3: Recorded to share their group’s successes and difficulties. 4: Starter (who put three cups upside down each with a cup right-side up on top; as shown in the picture below). The goal is to make a pyramid with the bottom row of three, all cups upside down. If students finish early, I give students 4 more cups to make the bottom row 4 cups wide.

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