4 Ways to Use Task Cards in the Middle School Math Classroom

One of the greatest things about task cards is how versatile they are in the classroom! From enrichment to math workshop centers, here are 4 effective ways to utilize task cards in the classroom.

1. Weekly Challenges our geometry units roll around in 6th and 8th grade math, I prefer to use these Angle Relationships Task Cards as a weekly challenge activity. The task cards have four star levels, marking their level of difficulty. I put four corresponding turn-in buckets next to each stack of cards. Throughout the week, students can enter as many of them as they want (without repeating a card). Every Monday, we draw one winner from each bucket. The first correct answer from each of the buckets gets a prize! Having a challenge routine similar to this one is a great option for students who are always finishing early.

2. Warm-up Problems
Task cards can also be great warm-up problems. Personally, I use my exit slips as a warm-up, but task cards can work just as well! Either project the problems at the front of the room or print, cut, and distribute for students to complete and turn in!

3. Exit Slips
Similar to the warm-up, but at the end of class, task cards are a great way to check each students' understanding of the concept you covered that day during class. I've heard so often that the last five minutes are crucial for students to process and think about what they learned that day. Having them complete a task card exit slip is an easy way to do this!

4. Math Workshop Centers
My favorite use for task cards is during math workshop. In my class, I use the task cards with the small group that I am working with. Each of the students begins with a "regular" task card, that includes basic types of problems of the concept we are learning about that day. I use these 6th Grade Task Cards and 8th Grade Task Cards at my front table. The students who show they have a solid understanding of the more basic problems then get an "enrichment" task card. These 6th Grade Enrichment Task Cards and 8th Grade Enrichment Task Cards included the same topics as the first sets, but more challenging problems. I love seeing students problem solve as they work through these difficult challenges! If you teach 7th grade, I also have a set of 7th Grade Task Cards and 7th Grade Enrichment Task Cards available!

For more information about how I have run math workshop in the middle school grades, you can check out my book, Making Math Workshop Work. The book includes ideas for how to structure math workshop, manage behaviors, and get workshop running smoothly in your classroom!

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  1. Do you photocopy the answers on the back of the task cards? I'm trying to find a way to make this an independent review but don't want students to check the answer too early. Just looking for suggestions. Thanks

    1. I used to do a similar activity. To make it independent, I had a separate area in my classroom that supplied the answers. That way I knew who was going there to get the answers (if they'd finished their work). Another way to do this might be to supply the answer on the card, right or wrong, and ask students to justify their truth or false justification of the answer. Good stuff, and thank you to the author of these activities!

  2. If you were to use task cards as a homework assignment, would you have them cut out and put on a ring for students to view? If yes, would you have a recording sheet for them to give the following day for a grade?

    Another question I have is, would you ever use task cards with QR codes for self-checking? If yes, how would you ensure that students are completing the tasks before checking the QR Code?

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    2. You bring up a good idea with the QR codes. You could probably ensure that students are completing the task by having the students check with the teacher first before they check the QR codes.