Primary (K-2) Game of the Week: Plus or Minus 9 Bingo

Plus or Minus 9 Bingo

From the Investigations 3 curriculum, which Brookline will begin adopting in the 2020-2021 school year. You can play this game online, too!


If you don’t have cards around, you can either print them or check out some creative suggestions for alternatives from the kids in 3M

• Something to cross off or cover the numbers on the bingo board (e.g. pencil, pen, coins, etc.)


  1. Turn over one 0–20 card.
  2. Figure out the results of adding and subtracting 9 to/from that number.
    11 + 9 = 20 11 – 9 = 2
  3. Cover one of the answers on your gameboard. (If both are already covered, discard the card, and turn over a new card.)
  4. Place the 0–20 card in the discard pile.
  5. Continue playing until all numbers in one row are covered. The numbers can go across, down, or corner to corner .

Additional Downloads

Play Plus or Minus 9 Bingo online here!

Upper Elementary (3-5) Game of the Week: Target 1000

This game is from the IM K-5 Math Program (that Grades 4 and 5 have been piloting). There are variations of this game in Investigations 3 and Bridges.

Play this game online (via TERC Investigations 3)!



  1. Print out a gameboard, or draw the following on a piece of paper or whiteboard.
  2. Spin spinner/roll dice/generate a random number.
  3. All players secretly decide where to place the digit in the game template.
  4. Take turns spinning/rolling/generating 6 more times, until all spaces are filled. You must place one digit in the “extra number” box.
  5. Find the value of the sum.
  6. Calculate your score. Your score is the distance from the target number of 1000.
  7. Play 5 rounds. The player with the lowest score wins.


In fourth and fifth grade, we also played Target 500, Target 750, and Target 0 (subtraction).


Math Art Challenge: Stained Glass Shape Search

Math Art Challenge: Stained Glass Shape Search

Can you find the hidden shapes?

For this challenge, you will create a stained glass window design on the sidewalk using chalk and some painter’s or masking tape

First: use the tape to create a design.
Then: color each section of the design. Try not to use the same color for shapes that touch.
After: pull the tape off to reveal your “stained glass window” design.

Then search for shapes in your design!

How many triangles (3 sided shapes) can you find? How are your triangles the same? How are your triangles different?

Which color did you use the most? How do you know? (relates to upper elementary work with area and measurement)

Try to find:

  • Triangles (shapes with three sides)
  • Quadrilaterals (shapes with four sides)
  • Pentagons (shapes with five sides)
  • Hexagons (shapes with six sides)

Did you create more triangles or more quadrilaterals? Create a graph to show how many of each shape you found. (relates to 2nd and 3rd grade work with geometry, measurement, and data)

Send in photos of your creations! jennifer_laib at

Here are some more examples of stained glass windows:

photo from Chrissy Newell

I spy two orange triangles, one blue quadrilateral…

*from the Grade 2 math menu, week of April 6 – 10*

Spotlight on: “Games For Young Minds” newsletter

Games for Young Minds

Games for Young Minds” ( is a free weekly newsletter from Kent Haines, an instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Visit the website for access to the archives, suggestions for low tech, high tech, and commercial games, reviews, etc. There is now an accompanying YouTube channel, too!

Sign up for the newsletter on the main page.

Primary (K-2) Game of the Week: Close to 20

Close to 20

From the Investigations 3 curriculum, which Brookline will begin adopting in the 2020-2021 school year.


If you don’t have cards around, you can either print them or check out some creative suggestions for alternatives from the kids in 3M

• Counters (like cubes, pennies, scraps of paper, etc.)


  1. Deal 5 cards to each player.
  2. Take turns. On each turn:
    • Choose 3 cards that make a total as close to 20 as possible.
    • Record the total of the 3 cards, and your score.
    • Your score is the difference between your total and 20.
    • Take that many cubes.
    • Put those cards aside and take 3 new cards.
  3. After each player has taken 5 turns, total your score.
  4. Count your cubes. You should have the same number of cubes as your total score.
  5. The player with the lowest total score is the winner.

Additional Downloads

Grade 5 Snapshot: Which One Doesn’t Belong?

Which One Doesn’t Belong?

Students across Driscoll enjoy the Which One Doesn’t Belong routine. In this routine, four images (or numbers or graphs) are displayed, and students are asked to select which one of the four does not belong with the other three. This routine “fosters a need for students to identify defining attributes and use language precisely in order to compare and contrast a carefully chosen group of geometric figures, images, or other mathematical representations.” (from the Illustrative Mathematics alpha pilot teacher materials) If you’re interested in learning more about this routine, including example from Driscoll classrooms, read this blog post from October 2019.

This week, fifth graders engaged with the following Which One Doesn’t Belong task, from the first unit of IM K-5 Math (a curriculum we have been piloting all year).

Students shared their responses using the website Padlet. There were reasons for why each of the 4 shapes did not belong with a group of the other 3. For example, some students said that figure A didn’t belong because:

Students said that figure B didn’t belong because:

Read more responses here!

It is exciting that, even though students are all at home, they are able to engage with one another’s mathematical ideas!

What if you don’t have dice?

Creative Alternatives to Dice & Cards

There are lots of great math games that involve dice and cards!

But what if you don’t have dice or cards easily available at home? Students in 3M offered some great advice. Thanks, 3M! Games will be posted soon.

From Adam, Cramer, Dia, Hudson, Kyara, and Sophie: Write the numbers you need on scraps of paper, and pull them out of a hat, bucket, or bowl (Kyara suggests closing your eyes!)

From Maddy and Maslin: Ask Siri or Alexa
(e.g. “Tell me a number between 1 and 10”)

From Pascal: Make an origami box, and write the numbers 1 through 6 on the sides

From Cassandra: You can use flash cards and the answer would be the number you get. You can also use playing cards!

From Hadley: Write the numbers, and do eeny meeny miny mo (*Try to start on different numbers)

From Lila: Ask your parents to choose a number

From Adam and Stella: Program your computer to make a random number (Stella suggested using ‘R’)

Adam’s Mom, Amy, also joined in the fun! She suggested taking a handful of random objects, like rice or beans, out of a box or bowl. Count them and use that number.

One more from Ms. Laib: Google “dice.” You can choose from dice with different sides. Usually, you will need either the blue 6-sided die or the pink 10-sided die.

Grade 4: Photos of Multiplicative Comparisons

Grade 4: Photos of Multiplicative Comparisons

The American alligator has twice as many teeth as the average dog.

Twelve times more dinosaur fossils were found in Europe than in Australia.

In 2018, more than 7 times as many people traveled for Lunar New Year (China) than Thanksgiving (US).

These are all examples of multiplicative comparisons, or comparing two things using multiplication. In early March, just before Driscoll’s physical campus closed, fourth graders were learning about how to use and apply these kind of relationships to different quantities. For their first week on Driscoll’s online campus, they continued this work.

Liam, in 4G, showed how 80 bananas is 16 times more than a bunch of 5.

Alice, in 4M, used drawing tools to show how equal groups can help us determine the multiplicative comparison.

Elai, in 4M, extended his thinking to fractions and decimals.

Counting Collections

Counting Collections

Do you have a lot of paper clips stuffed into a kitchen drawer? Or maybe a bunch of empty yogurt pouches you’ve been meaning to recycle? What around your house could your child count?

Counting Collections is one of my favorite learning activities — both in and out of school! At school, we have students determine how to count collections of objects (e.g. pom poms, artificial shells, novelty erasers, skeleton keys, etc.). Students figure out how to organize their objects, and then record their thinking in their math journals. Here are some photos of Driscoll kids at work:

UCLA Professor Angela Turrou explains counting collections in this video:

Originally published on twitter (@UCLAMathProject) on March 20, 2020

It seems pretty simple, but there’s some important mathematical work that’s happening there.

Angela Turrou, UCLA

A lot of the mathematical work comes from students deciding, on their own, how to organize their collection. Maybe they want to make groups of 2, 5, 10, 25, etc. Maybe they want to organize by color, or by shape, or into a long line. Sometimes, the organizational structure the student chose may impede them from arriving at an accurate total. They may lose count, or they may double count, etc. This is an important step in the learning process. Students need time to make sense of these quantities.

So let them explore! How many pieces of elbow macaroni are there in the box? How many toy cars are in the toy bin? How many rocks did you collect on a walk through the Arboretum? Estimate, then get counting.