Math Warm-up Activities

Written by trudie longren
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Math Warm-up Activities
Warm-up activities get students thinking in numbers. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Teaching mathematics to elementary and secondary students can prove challenging if they are returning to the subject after significant time away. Warm-up activities can help students think about numbers and begin recalling skills learnt in the past. Warm-up activities are usually short, targeting basic skills rather than advanced problem solving. Warm-up activities are appropriate at the beginning of math class or even as a filler in between subjects. Homeroom teachers can consider using math warm-up activities as a way to engage students at the beginning of the school day.


Math drills are 30- or 60-second exercises that help students to solve problems quickly. Give students 25 addition, subtraction, multiplication or division problems and time them for 30 seconds. Ask them how far they got. Let them check their answers.

Short Answer

Write up to five questions about math in the real world. Students can answer the questions with a partner. If you are teaching them a unit about decimals, write a question asking students to think about where they see decimals used every day. They will likely answer when they buy something at the store.

Last Person Standing

This math warm-up is a good way to start the school day. Have all students stand. Pick two students and ask them a math question. Only the students who answer correctly remain standing. Continue to ask questions to pairs of students until only one student is left standing. He or she is the math champion for the day.

Dice Game

Let pairs of students have two die. Ask them to roll both of the die and to add or multiply the two numbers. They should write a number sentence (for example 4 x 6 = 24) for each pair of numbers. Ask students to complete at least three problems and compare with and check the number sentences with a partner.

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