5th Grade Math : Unit #1 - Working with Whole Numbers : Lesson #1

Math Blast...It's A Numbers Game

Objective: SWBAT to practice learned math skills and attempt new math concepts.
Standards: 5.NBT.A.1 MP1 MP3 MP4 MP6
Subject(s): Math
60 minutes
1 Getting Started: The First Day of Math Blast - 35 minutes

Math Blast Number of the Day 1 is a quick, fun, fast-paced math game! It doesn't require a lot of materials - just the PowerPoint, music, white boards, and dry erase markers. I begin every day with a Number of the Day. Math Blast is also a great place to work on mathematical practices, especially critical thinking skills, discourse and collaboration! (MP1 - Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, MP4 - Model with mathematics, MP6 - Attend to precision.)

Math Blast is a great way to pre-teach a concept and is really good scaffolding, especially for those struggling learners. I like to add new concepts that will be learning in the near future into Math Blast. This way students are familiar with new concepts when I go to teach them. If they haven't figured out the work through Math Blast they will have at least seen the concept. 

The basic content my Math Blast covers is:

    • Begin with prior knowledge tasks, factoring GCF, LCM. In 5th grade this is really good to have understanding for going into fractions.
    • I always add some rounding and estimation, good tools to know and it is pre-teaching our next lesson.
    • I always like to end with a word problem to challenge and support students' skills in answering a problem with what the question is requesting them to do.


The first day you introduce Math Blast you will need to walk through MathBlast 1 powerpoint very slowly to comprehensively cover expectations, how to tackle different problems, and the ways students can help each other and share answers. I demonstrate, and will continue to practice, the hand signals which tells students if their work is correct or needs more attention. I try not to tell students exactly what needs to be fixed, so that they develop habits of correcting their own work.

I allow table mates to support each other, this is also a good way to support struggling learners. I usually play music while students are working (it is the "Blast" in Math Blast). They have to the end of the song to fill in their board.

In the beginning, 30 - 35 minutes may be more time than most need, but they will use all of the time when the numbers get bigger. 

Math Blast is a daily exercise in Mathematical Practice 1, making sense of problems, and persevering in solving them. My expectation is that students will apply what they know to wrestle with more challenging problems. It is also a collaborative exercise, and my expectation is that students will assist each other, explaining their thinking, and considering the thinking of others (MP3- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others). 

Math Blast...the whys and hows
Rules and Consequences

Math Blast is a great way to get the day rolling, students engaged, and, well, just fun! I use this to not only reconfirm things we are learning, but to support prior knowledge, develop mathematical practices and to pre-teach upcoming ideas and concepts. The blast also support all learners, as it can be differentiated to the level of each student's skills and knowledge. I also encourage students to support each other in their table groups.

I encourage you to take ownership over your own Math Blast. Use my template and make it your own. I play disco - that is my room theme (and the music is safe for school), but play what you want. No matter how silly the music, the students will engage. I love to dance around the room checking their work!

One idea to support teacher movement, invest in a PowerPoint clicker, they are about $20 but it allows you to be anywhere and advance the slides.

Most of all HAVE FUN and make MATH FUN! It's a BLAST!

2 See, Think, Wondering - 5 minutes


I end Math Blast and lead into my lesson with a See, Think, Wondering. The art I choose always relates to the unit I am teaching.

See, Think, Wonder is a dynamic way to get your students to think deeper about a subject without them knowing that they are doing it.

The SEE part is pretty basic thinking. I see….

The THINK part is intended to get students to think about things in ways they haven't before. This is a fun way for students to make connection to the things we're learning in math. In my class, we'll be thinking about math and art.  I use art because I am passionate about art. Use examples of things that ignite your passion! This art makes me think about….

And the WONDER requires enough engagement with the topic (the art) to be able to come up with a question. This art makes me wonder if….

See, Think, Wonder is my way to getting their brains ready to think about math and I find that the transition is great. It is also a quick chance to expose my students to different types of art.

Note: I've added a See, Think, Wondering separate from the Math Blast in case you want to do it by itself. It is also attached at the end of the Math Blast PowerPoint.

Note: You don’t have to use art; I use art because I am passionate about art. Use examples of things that ignite your passion!