Hello!! I would like to start math centers with my 6th graders and don't know where to start! I would like to work with one group of students, but I need to find some fun/engaging/academically challenging activities for the remaining students. This seems difficult especially because I have a group of 33 students. I would really appreciate any suggestions :thanks: !! Thanks =)

There are several wonderful and challenging games that can be used very well in groups - especially with 6th grade social butterflies. 24 Set Equations Even tangram challenges or pentaminoes would work. Logic puzzles (the grid type like 'the man with the yellow hat lives next door to the woman with the red hair'...) Creating floor plans (ration/scale) Anagrams Magic Squares

What about a center that deals with math facts? There are SEVERAL 6th graders at my school who still have trouble with facts... but they would NEVER want to do flash cards. I have had success with "Math Dice." I use a clear container with a screw-on lid. I glue a circle of felt on the inside bottom and then I put in 2 dice. The kids shake it and multiply the numbers. For those gifted students, how about adding a 12-sided dice? I have a "Math Games" center with several games that the kids just love- Blink, Yatzee, Triominoes, Brick-by-Brick, Rush Hour. I figure the more they wake up their brains, the better it is! Have you seen the Soduko (sp?) number squares? They are really neat! You can sometimes find them in the paper near the crossword puzzle (or in that section). It is a 9x9 grid broken up into 9 squares (3x3 each). Each small square has to have the numbers 1-9 and each row and column also has to have the numbers 1-9. GET YOUR BRAIN IN GEAR! Hope this helps!

For the math facts, use flashcards, but turn it into a game for two: the first student to get the math fact right wins the card. Sudoku is cool! My local Barnes & Noble is featuring it right now with books by people like Will Shortz (who edits puzzles for The New York Times) among others. There was at least one book of easy ones, and if students start out by working together, they'll quite likely get the hang of it pretty quickly. With a couple of sets of RPG dice, you could also have kids work on some really interesting aspects of probability. RPGs (=role-playing games) don't use just six-sided dice: they have four-sided dice and eight-sided dice and ten-sided dice and twelve-sided dice and 20-sided dice. You could have kids work out how many ways you can roll a 7 with two six-sided dice as opposed to how many ways you can roll a 7 with one twelve-sided die. You can also have them explore Platonic solids, since all but the ten-sided dice are Platonic solids. A Platonic solid has sides all of which are identical in size and shape and regular (the cube has squares, the dodecahedron has 12 pentagons, the rest have equilateral triangles); it can be inscribed inside a sphere so that all its vertices touch the sphere, and it can be circumscribed outside a sphere so that all its sides touch the sphere. And the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron (20-sided) are the only ones that exist.

Thank you all for the great ideas! Just the types of things I was looking for to engage them in math, thanks again =)

A good resource for them might be Usborne's ILLUSTRATED DICTIONARY OF MATH, ISBN 0-7945-0662-3 paper, which explains math concepts through beginning trig clearly and includes Web links.

How funny, we have the game 24 as well! It's one of most well know Math games for 5/6th grade. Kids love this game over here... Last year, the school I taught in organized a 24 competition. It was interesting to realize that some kids were faster than some teachers, playing it (Of course I'm not talking about myself, nope... ) Great ideas on this thread.

Yes..can anyone offer a brief explanation? I vaguely rememember playing that game when I was in middle school but do not remember the details! thanx

Thanks for stepping in, Carmen! I was off getting ready for tomorrow's special election in California - for the first time, I'm a pollworker, so I'll be out of the action till quite late tomorrow night. Isn't it grand, people, to know that from half a world away we can cover each other's backs?