Math Norms: Setting the Stage for Math Workshops!

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Students will be able to recall place value for numbers up to 100,000 and learn the expectation of entering the classroom and getting right to work with Math Blast.

Big Idea

It is important to begin the year by setting expectations. In this lesson we do this, as well as check in on that critical place value understanding!

Language Objective and Prior Knowledge

Language Objective: Students will be able to write numbers out in word form and say numbers in standard form, using correct vocabulary of place value terms.

Prior Knowledge: 4th graders worked with numbers up to 100,000 in standard, word and expanded form.

Math Blast Number of the Day 2

15 minutes

Math Blast Number of the Day 2

Math Blast 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 Common Core skills, especially critical thinking skills, discourse and collaboration!

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 this is more time than most need, but they will use all of the time when the numbers get bigger. 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. 

I allow table mates to support each other, this is also a good way to support struggling learners.

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.


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). The closing piece of Math Blast is See, Think, and Wondering.

See, Think, Wondering

10 minutes

Brown Numbers

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! 

The Elevator Speech

10 minutes

Concept: Talking with students to get them to recall information they learned in 4th grade regarding Place Value of Whole Numbers. Charting everything they remember is a great way for them to get a
visual of all the things they learned. I also keep the chart up as a reminder that they have, in fact, already learned this and it is review.

*Also, this lesson is designed to be taught in the beginning of the school year. Expectations need to be taught and reviewed each day for at least the first two weeks of school.

So today we’re going to use ALLLLL that stuff that we have stored in our brains from last year. So we’re going to need to go in and dust off all that learning, take it off the brain shelf and bring it out! But the cool thing is that we’re going to use that knowledge and learning from last year to play some games of number skills.

Let’s chart all the things about numbers that you can remember so that you and I can have a list of things we already know! (Chart this or have a scribe do it.)

I am going to teach you a couple games that I really like and I hope that you’re going to have some fun in math today.

Work It Out

40 minutes

Teach the following games for 10 minutes:

After teaching each game the class will practice for about 10-15 minutes and then learn the next game.


10 minutes

Ok, now math is fun right? I know that many of you told me that you don’t like math and I told you that I was going to prove to you it can be fun. 

And so, I make sure that we have time to talk about the successes and challenges of learning this way, which games the like the best, and any questions that may come up.

Quick Assessment

5 minutes

The Post-It Poster: I give students the following numbers:  

2    1     9     3     7     9

Suggest writing, rather than giving the numbers orally.

Students are instructed to use a post it note to create the largest number they can, using the numbers given, and place it on their space on the Post-It Poster as their exit ticket.