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Top 10 Math Tools for Your Primary Classroom

Getting ready for a new school year?  Well, I am here to help you decide what are some of your MUSTS for math. 

Must have math tools; primary math

There are so many resources for math that it is hard to decide what you really need.  Let me help you!

1.  Dice

Dice, Game, Luck, Gambling, Cubes, Red, Violet, Lilac

A classroom must is DICE.  We use them every day.  Most math games require dice.   If you have to have dice, why not get them in pretty colors?  The second link is for dice in dice which are fabulous fun and useful for larger numbers.

2.  Unifix Cubes

My classroom could not run without unifix cubes.  We use them for addition, subtraction, building sets, place value, measurement and data.  I have hundreds of them!  My firsties love to play with them during Friday Fun, too!

3.  Number lines

math; first grade

math; first grade

Number lines are vital for addition and subtraction.  We use these to learn to count up.  I photocopy number lines onto thick cardstock and laminate them.  This way students may draw hops up or back and wash to erase.  These number lines are available for free on my TPT store.  Get them here.

I also have a class set of these number lines from Really Good Stuff.  The students love to use these!  They make math fun.

4.  Polydrons

common core; geometry

We love polydrons! They make a great math station and children must problem solve to use them.  Polydrons are my top geometry tool because they work on spatial reasoning, fine motor skills, problem solving, composing and decomposing shapes all while learning geometry.

5.  Rekenreks

number sense; math; first grade; common core

Rekenreks are essential in my math classroom.  Rekenreks show groups of five and ten.  This is so important to build number sense and work in a base ten system.  They help students learn to subitize; which is one of the most important math skills.  I have a top selling pack on Teachers Pay Teachers as well. 

I made colorful rekenrek bracelets for the beginning of the year for ten facts.  I used pipe cleaners and pony beads.  I taped the end of the pipe cleaners to stop them from fraying.  We have used these for 3 years now and they still look like new.

I use rekenreks for phonemic awareness and phonics, too.  Students slide a bead for each sound they hear in a word. 

Here are a few other alternatives for rekenreks:

6.  Ten Frames

Ten frames are another necessity in your primary math classroom. We play ten frame (and twenty frame) flash for subitizing, add and subtract on the number mats, compose and decompose numbers, partition numbers  and draw them to solve problems. 
My Math Lessons and Games pack has printable ten frames if buying them is out of the question.  You could print out a blank ten frame and use unifix cubes or some sort of marker to build on them.

Here are some of the ten frames I own:

7.  Cards

There are so many uses for playing cards that I must have lots and lots in my class.  I use regular cards and Uno Cards.

facts of ten; number sense; common core

This is one of my students favorite games.  It's so good for them because it helps them get a solid understanding of all the ways to make ten.  Use two sets of Uno cards {1-9} and shuffle them.  Students lay out the cards like they would for concentration.  They turn over to get two cards that equal ten.  When all the cards are gone, whoever has the most cards, wins.

8.  Number grids

We use these to count up and count back.  We look for patterns.  We count by tens.  Number grids are the best!  I have these free in my Caddy Pack resource.  Print them out on cardstock and laminate so students can write on them.


9.  Pattern blocks

Patterning is an important primary skill! Students not only learn how to continue patterns with pattern blocks, they can make patterns, compose figures made of pattern blocks and learn shape attributes.

10.  Geoboards

Geoboards are an excellent tool for geometry.  Children learn attributes of shapes.  They can make circles.  Students can even show equal parts and fractions of shapes on geoboards.

What do you think are must have tools for math?  I'd love to know.  Please reply with your favorites!

1 comment

  1. Hello! I am your newest follower and loved your post. I look forward to reading more. Have a great weekend and happy blogging!

    Jen @ Professional Bloggers Association