Sidewalk Chalk Mental Math Game

Sidewalk Chalk Mental Math Game

You could practice adding 10's and 100's to numbers while you sit at your desk. But why do that when you can ride your scooter and learn? That's the question I asked myself when I saw my eight-year-old getting very frustrated with some math problems he was working on. The concept was to look at an equation where 10 or 100 was added to a number, and come up with the answer in your head, without writing or configuring in any way. This required deciphering which is the ones place, the tens place and the hundreds place in a 3-digit number. I grabbed our bucket of sidewalk chalk and told my son to grab his scooter and we did math outside on a beautiful fall day.

5 - 9
Est. Time:
<30 mins

How we did it:

Materials List

  1. chalk
  2. a scooter or bike
  3. markers
  1. My son and I took turns writing random 3-digit numbers all around our driveway and sidewalk. We reviewed ones, tens and hundreds places. Then he got on his scooter.

  2. I jotted down an equation adding 10 to a number on a small white board and he read it.

  3. Then he rode his scooter around the driveway and sidewalk, stopping at the correct answer.

  4. After a few addition problems with 10's, we tried 100's. I gave him an equation like this:

  5. And he found the answer.

  6. Here's another equation we tried.

  7. And, again, his answer... The frustration he had over these same problems when we working on it in the house had melted away. Using his whole body to solve the equations was working for him! We were outside, enjoying a beautiful fall day, learning and playing together. My goal for myself is to ask, when work becomes tough and frustration is running high, can we get outside, move around and adapt our learning to a fun game? I hope we can. What will you learn through play today?