3 Ideas to Help Survive the End of the Year in Middle School Math

The end of the school year can be a challenging time of year in middle school math! Students (and teachers!) are ready for summer and it always seems like the number of meetings and things to get done multiplies. In this post, I put together three of my favorite activities for the end of the school year in middle school math. All of them focus on getting kids engaged, out of their seat, and burning off some of that extra energy!

(1) Brain Teaser Challenge
This is one of my favorites. So much so, that I not only did this at the end of this school year, but I also did one earlier in the year. The basic idea is to post 6-7 brain teasers on posters around the room, each with a bucket and some scrap paper next to it. Students can move freely around the room as they try the problems, entering their guesses (with names!) in the corresponding bucket. Once finished, I draw answers out of each bucket until there is a correct answer. That person gets a small prize! If you would like to read my full blog post about it you can click HERE.

(2) Mystery Prize Challenge
This one is similar to the Brain Teaser Challenge, however it is easier to keep this one more focused on academic concepts. I tried out this one for the first time this year and students begged to do it again. I posted six review problems around the room. Each had a mystery brown paper bag that held a prize. This year, I filled them with pencils, mints, Starbursts, candy, and gum... or some combination of those! The rest of the activity works very similar to the Brain Teaser Challenge. Students go around the room, entering answers into a bucket next to each problem. We then drew names out of each bucket... first correct answer from each won the prize! For some more details about this challenge you can click HERE. If you are looking for problems to use, my 6th Grade Math Scavenger Hunt Bundle and 8th Grade Math Scavenger Hunt Bundle provide a wide range of options!

(3) Silent Ball
This one could either be as a quick brain break or you can add an academic twist to it! I'm not sure who came up with this one, but they are a genius! Students stand around the room at a spot. You then begin tossing a ball around the room. In our game, there were four ways you could get out... if you talk, if you drop the ball, if you make a poor throw, or if you throw overhand. The game goes on until there is only one person left. You can also add rules to make it more challenging. We tried throwing/catching with one hand or the opposite hand, standing on one foot, one eye closed, etc. To make it a little more academic, you can also have them say a math fact (we stuck with 9x9 or less) and then whoever they throw it to has to answer it correctly. This is a great one to use as a break if you have long classes!

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