# First Day of School Math Activities for Upper Elementary

Does planning your first day of school math activities leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you looking for some engaging first day math activities that are easy to plan and prep?

You have come to the right place!

I am sharing my favorite back to school math activities that are perfect for the first day of school!

## Math Puzzles

Using math puzzles is an engaging and high interest way to start your math class on the first day of school. They get kids excited about using math and tackling challenging problems.

Math puzzles with pictures allow students to solve equations of varying difficulty in a low risk format. They also build critical thinking skills and algebraic reasoning.

This activity allows you to observe student habits and behaviors as they work to solve the puzzles. What strategies do they use? Do they stick with challenging problems? How do they share their thinking?

This set of 10 back to school themed math puzzles are designed for upper elementary students.

And because I know back to school time can get expensive pretty quickly, I have created this FREE set of math puzzles that you can grab HERE!

Looking for even more math puzzles to use throughout the school year? CLICK here to see more math puzzles with a variety of themes.

## About the Teacher

You can start making connections with your students on the first day of math class! Kids love getting to know fun facts about their teachers and it is a great way to learn what everyone has in common.

But, don’t just give a boring lecture about yourself. Make it fun for you and your students!

Some fun ways to introduce yourself to your students on the first day of math include:

- True or false – make a short presentation with fun facts about yourself. Make some of them true and some false. As you reveal each fun fact, have students vote on whether they think it is true or false. You can follow up with more details on true facts or corrections on false facts.
- Teacher quiz – make a short quiz about yourself. This can be multiple choice, true/false, or fill in the blank. It can be on paper or a self correcting Google Form. Go over the answers with some more details about yourself for each question.
- Me too! – Share a fact about yourself. If they have that fact in common with you, they stand up and say “me too!”. For example: “I love chocolate ice cream.” Students who also love chocolate ice cream would stand up and say “me too!”

## SKUNK

SKUNK is a high energy, high interest game of probability and chance that kids find irresistible!

Kids have a game sheet with 5 columns. Each column is labeled with a letter- S – K – U – N – K.

All students start the game standing.

The teacher rolls two dice. The numbers that come up on the dice are added together (or you can choose multiplication for an added challenge). Students record the total under the “S” column.

Students now decide if they want to keep their points safe (and sit down) or stay standing and take a chance on gaining more points with the next roll.

If a 1 is rolled on either die – The round is over. Anyone still standing loses all their points for that round.

If two 1s are rolled (snake eyes!) – Anyone still standing loses ALL their points accumulated from current and previous rounds.

If there are not any 1s rolled, students can continue to choose to remain in the game or sit down at the end of any turn to keep their points safe. The points earned each round get added to the running total until that round is over.

After the “S” round is over, move on to the “K” column for the second round. Continue to play until all 5 rounds are complete. At the end of all 5 rounds, players add up their scores for each of the 5 rounds to get a total to see who has the highest score.

## Math Surveys

At this point, kids have solved puzzles, learned a little about their teacher, and played a high interest math game. Now is a great time to do a quiet activity that will help you get to know a little more about your students as learners and mathematicians.

Math surveys are a great first day of school math activity that can be done independently. There are a variety of types of surveys you can give your students to learn about their interests, learning styles, work habits, and math mindset.

This back to school math survey pack includes 5 different math surveys that you can use as first day math activities or anytime during the school year.

The math surveys included in this resource are:

- Math Interest Inventory
- Math Mindset Survey
- Would You Rather … In Math Class
- Math Student Survey
- Family Math Survey

There are so many possibilities for fun first day of school math activities! I have found these four activities to be plenty to fill the first day of school math block. They have the perfect combination of whole group, independent, active, quiet, math content, and getting to know you activities that will give students a positive and fun back to school math experience!

Do you have a favorite first day of school math activity? I would love to hear about it!