Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tried It Tuesday - Linking Cubes for Math Practice

Today I'm inking up with Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried it Tuesday. 

A few days ago Nick, over at Sweet Rhyme Pure Reason posted something he does for Spark Student Motivation Saturdays, and I knew that it was perfect for my math intervention class. I love things that are fast, easy, free, and MOTIVATE!

When I give math assessments we always review the concept(s) first. I have a great little game that we play.  It forces students to work together as a team which helps my students who "get it" re-teach those that are still struggling (post for another day?). Anyhow, I saw Nick's post about giving students unifix/linking cubes when they get an answer correct while doing math practice and had to try it out. As students get correct answers they get more cubes they are able to start building with them.

We have been working on multiplying decimals, so each student pulled out a white board and I explained that they would get cubes for correct answers and we started. I gave 2+ cubes per correct answer because it takes my intervention kiddos longer to complete problems, and I wanted them to be able to build too.

Students who already received cubes did two things while waiting for the next problem. They either helped the other kids at their table or they began to build. They weren't waiting too long though until the next problem was up. This also gave me an opportunity to work one-on-one with those few students who still needed some support.

After about 8 problems I told them we only had time for one or two and they were devastated, they wanted to practice the whole class period! Here are some of their creations....

There are so many advantages to doing this! I can instantly see, based on how many cubes students have, who is "getting it" and who is still struggling. Then I can make sure to spend more time with those that don't have many cubes, or I can pair them up with a peer tutor. The students really wanted more cubes and they were motivated to keep going, it was much better than groaning about practice. Building is also a great way for students to be creative and use another part of their brains! I will definitely be using this in the future. Thanks for sharing your great idea Nick! 


  1. I'm so excited that you and your kids liked it! Like you mentioned, I love the fast, easy and free aspect of the idea. And you can do it with pretty much any skill.

    Thanks for the shout out!

    Sweet Rhyme – Pure Reason

  2. Ooh this is such a good idea! And so simple!

    Thanks for sharing!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  3. This is such a simple idea but a great motivator for the students! They love to build (I can hardly get them to NOT build when I want them to use the manipulatives for something else!). I can see them not wanting to stop reviewing because they want cubes! Perfect:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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