math-y monday: math projects part 1

So many times, even when teaching third graders, I have been asked why we need to know math. The truth is math is everywhere in everything we do, but that is hard to explain to an eight-year-old. I tried as much as possible to make math more than just solving practice problems. Math projects are a great way to do this. Here is a quick introduction to math projects, a FREE project to download, and some fun math project links to explore.

What are math projects?

Math projects are tasks in which students must solve or create using math concepts and critical thinking.

Why should I use math projects?

They are hands-on, differentiated, and engaging. And yes, math can be down-right fun. Projects require students to use math skills, and even more important, they require students to think and problem-solve. They help students see the value of math in the “real world.”

Who can use math projects?

Math projects are great for gifted and advanced learners who are ready to take that extra step in their thinking. However, all students can benefit from the thinking skills required by math projects. Some students may need a little extra scaffolding, but that’s true for everything we do.

Where can I find math projects?

Here is a math project I created called 500 Wheel Brigade. Students must create a parade that has exactly 500 wheels using at least 5 different types of vehicles. I recommend it for third grade and higher. Students will use estimation, multiplication, addition, and critical thinking skills. It is harder than it sounds to get exactly 500. You can download the project for FREE at my TPT store. 

Here are some web resources I’ve used that have pretty good projects, tasks, and puzzles. Some are more in-depth than others, but there are activities for all areas of math.


Math Performance Tasks from Albuquerque Public Schools

NRich Maths

Math Performance Tasks from USF

Math Puzzles

Math Maven Math Mysteries

And here is a book that isn’t terrible. (Some of the books that I’ve found are in fact terrible! It’s usually easier to just make my own!)

12 Real-Life Math Projects Kids Will Love

I give an ‘eh’ to the book. I have this book but never fully used it. The ideas are good, but there are a lot of pages for each project, and it seemed that there was a lot of answering questions as opposed to actually completing a project, but if you’re looking for somewhere to start, this can serve as a good springboard.

I love math projects. I love creating them, and I love doing them in the classroom. As I started typing this post, I realized I have way too much to say about math projects, so I decided to break it up into a series of posts. Come back next week to learn more about how to use math projects and how to fit them in a tight schedule.

And since it’s Monday, I’ve linked up with Manic Monday over at classroom freebies because who doesn’t love a good freebie!! Check them out!

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