Integrating Math Facts Sports Materials into the Classroom



In a nutshell - There are many different manipulatives, worksheets, activities, drills, etc... that supply equations that need to be solved, and these can be incorporated into this concept, using a variety of ways to reward correct answers with ways like those shown in the videos, ie; advancing toward the goal line for correct answers, and moving backwards for incorrect answers.  These can be done with the math sports printables as well. 


When students are ready to begin using a number line, they are ready to participate in forms of this game.  Children that are still at an age where they put miscellaneous objects into their mouth, should only use the playing surfaces, and not the other components, because the cubes and dice can be choking hazards.


  • When introducing this game to students that are just learning to count, you don't even need the cubes, dice, or cut outs from the game pieces printable.  They can just use a finger to point at the various numbers on the Add/Subtract surface.  You may substitute the Add/Subtract printable if you don't actually have a playing surface.  When ready, you may choose to print and cut out the game pieces, or purchase the cubes with numbers 0-9 represented, and have the student practice addition and subtraction using all the different number combinations, ie; lay the #3 game piece/cube on the #5 on the Add/Subtract surface to represent the equation 3 + 5 or 5 - 3.  (You will have to trim the helmet images from the game pieces printable pretty small to get them to fit into the squares on the playing surfaces) The student may first give the answer, then check it by jumping ahead 5 spaces as is done on a number line; yielding "8" as the answer to 3 + 5, or backward 3 spaces for 5 - 3.

  • Once students have a reasonable grasp of single digit addition and subtraction and the use of a number line, they may try what I call "Fact Family Football".(See video)  Participants can place a cube, or a football from the game pieces printable at the goal line that is next to the "0", and then, for starters, use the black and red dice to produce two numbers.  If you are using the printable of the game pieces you may also use one of the footballs at the bottom of the printable to place on the playing surface.  Each participant is to add the two numbers together to create the third number, write the three numbers on paper, as well as the two addition and two subtraction equations that belong to that fact family, ie; if 4 and 1 are rolled then the third number would be 5 since it is their sum.  4 + 1= 5, 1 + 4=5, 5 - 1= 4, and 5 - 4 = 1 are the equations.  After writing the three numbers and the equations (five tasks) the participant moves the cube ahead five spaces.  The participant repeats this until the cube is in the 20th space, which is right in front of the endzone.  At this time a referee (adult or more advanced student) will check the written work.  If all is correct the cube is to be moved across the goal line for a touch down.  For each mistake the cube is moved backward one space.  If using the custom red and black dice that come with this game, you'll note that some of the numbers have one or two dots next to them.  If a number with one dot is rolled, then that means the green die is rolled once to add that number to the number with the dot next to it, thus making the number bigger before adding it to the other die.  If two dots are showing, then roll the green die twice to add the two new numbers to the number with the dots next to it.  I suggest recording the extra equations on the fact family sheet, and moving the cube a space for each of those additional equations correctly solved as well.  I don't believe this activity should be a race for speed, so I wouldn't consider a contestant the winner just for scoring a touchdown before another, if both contestants took the same number of turns to score.  I do, however; suggest a time limit to keep play from getting too slow.  Of course, any type of dice or method of producing numbers can be used.  You may use any number of blank fact family templates from online.

  • For those just learning what numbers represent, one drill is to have the student place a finger on "0", then show the student a group of objects, ie; how many Xs are in the parenthesis (xxxxxxx), how many animals are in the picture, coins on the table, etc...  They may use the finger to jump ahead one space for each "x", animal, etc....  The final number that is landed on is the correct answer, allowing the student to see what written numeral represents the number of objects seen.  Just as with the "fact family game", a little football or something can be advanced toward the goal line for each correct answer.

  • Another beginner's drill is pattern work.  Give the student a pattern of numbers, ie; 4, 5, __, 7 and 9, 8 ,__, 6 and have the student refer to the numbers on the playing surface to fill in the missing number.

  • You may use both playing surfaces to practice skip counting, ie; 2, 4, 6, 8 and 3, 6, 9, 12.  After practicing that the students may then be given patterns like with the previous drill, except that the pattern can feature skip counting, ie; 2, 4, __, 8, and again, reward correct answers with advancing a football toward the goal line.

  • Another drill is to have the student refer to the Add/Subtract surface to put numbers in order from least to greatest or vice-versa, ie; 6, 2, 9, 11, 1.  Show them how the numbers on the playing surface get larger or smaller depending on which direction their finger moves.  This then leads to comparing pairs of numbers and placing the "<", ">", or "=" symbol between them, ie; 7 < 10 and 5 >2.

  • Use your imagination to come up with activities, and countless other drills can be found on the internet,


  • The game can be a warm up where those that did the previous night’s homework get to a game with a small group.  Those with correct answers for equation #1, roll a die and move a football, or if you have the retail version, a cube, the maximum number of squares as determined by the dice and/or label, and those with an incorrect answer may move a reduced number after rolling the die, ie; half the number. 


  • When using the MULYIPLY/DIVIDE playing surface, the first activity should involve learning to use the numbers playing surface as a multiplication table, ie; take any number from the bottom row (0-17) and multiply it by any number in the 2nd column (1-20), and the correct answer is found in the space where the column of the number from the bottom row intersects with the row of the number from the second column, ie; 12 x 9 = 108.  To make the previous equation more clear, the student may place a helmet from the printable with no symbol on the number 12, and another on the "9", maybe making it a little easier to locate the point where the two numbers intersect.  To do a division, you first do a multiplication equation, then do a related division equation.  To do this, you locate the space with the correct answer and the other two numbers in the equation are the same two other numbers, ie; 108 divided by 9 equals 12, and 108 divided by 12 equals 9.  The helmets may be placed on the divisor and the dividend to make it easier to locate the third number.

  • As stated previously, there are countless products out there that may be used to create equations, ie; flash cards, worksheets from the internet, etc...


When playing the game using multiplication and division equations, after the equation is correctly or incorrectly answered, the game pieces are to be moved as described in the instructions. (retail version)


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