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  • Writer's pictureKristy Johnson

Top 6 December Math Activities for Upper Elementary

Do you have activities you use every December in math to keep your students engaged? I know it is a challenge keeping students engaged leading up to big holidays or breaks. These SIX December activities are perfect for upper elementary students to stay engaged with learning.

Division FREEBIE:

First, I love these Candy Cane Division Puzzles. They are perfect for kicking off December math centers OR you could use them for celebrating National Candy Cane Day! There are TWO puzzles included: Division with remainders (3 pieces per) and division without remainders (2 pieces per).

Gingerbread Math: Create a Gingerbread House

A tradition in my family is to build gingerbread houses and to have a competition to see who can decorate theirs the best. I wanted to find a way to bring this into my classroom without making a mess and with staying within the standards. Therefore, I created these task card sets! Students have to answer the questions correctly and use their answer to color/decorate their gingerbread house. Each topic includes two different sets of cards with their own gingerbread house to decorate. The first set is Addition and Subtraction, which includes Two-Step Word Problems. The second set is Multiplication, which includes Multi-Step Word Problems (addition, subtraction, multiplication). The final set is Adding and Subtracting Fractions, which includes a like denominators option and unlike denominators option.

Task Cards:

This Holiday Task Card Bundle is perfect for reviewing first semester math skills. There are four different centers included. With Elf Operations, students will practice addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division word problems. In Reindeer Games, there are a variety of place value practice questions to make sure students keep those skills sharp all year round. My favorite set is the Snowman Jams factors, multiples, and number patterns. My students always struggle with these concepts so keeping them in review is perfect before break. Lastly, students get to review their fraction skills with Fraction Friends.

Multiplication Code Breakers:

As most of you know, code breakers are my favorite math center. Students get to practice their multiplication facts while cracking jokes. For December, I have THREE sets that are perfect for. your classroom and keeping students engaged.

First, we have the Christmas Code Breaker set that

just has the Christmas colors of red and green (no religious mention). Second, we have the Hanukkah Code Breaker set. I love giving my students options in math centers. I will allow them to chose which code breaker set they do. Some decide to pick the holiday they do not celebrate and it brings up fun and engaging conversations. Finally, we have the Winter Code Breaker set. I always allow students to pick this one if they do not want to or are not allowed to pick a holiday.

Multiplication Color by Number Worksheets:

My students have always been big fans of coloring. I decided to start using color

by number sheets in my math centers last year because students stayed engaged the whole time they were working on them. My color by number sheets have a twist to them and are word problem sets to make them perfect for upper elementary. These December Multiplication Color by Number Worksheets include Candy Canes, Hanukkah, and New Years sheets. Each set includes three pages (two with word problems and one coloring/answer sheet).

Hands On Centers:

When students are able to be hands on in math, they better grab the concept and are more engaged in the skills at hand. During December, we always use these Hot Chocolate Factors for review. Students match the factor marshmallows up with the correct hot chocolate mug number. The mugs are numbers up to 100.

Winter Break Extra Credit:

Do you give your students the opportunity to complete extra credit over their breaks? Each break I give my students the option to do some kind of review. For winter break, I have created a 3rd Grade Winter Break Packet and a 4th Grade Winter Break Packet to review first semester skills. Almost all of my students complete these optional packets because they are fun and keep their interest, versus them just being worksheets.

Do you do anything special in your classroom before the holidays? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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