WHY have students work in pairs?
Just like everyone wants a best friend, because life is better when it's shared with someone else, most students want to work with a partner in math class. And there are many benefits to working together:
And on top of all the above, students are going to level up their understanding of math! And, let's face it, that's the main goal!
HOW can students work in pairs?
Of course, if you were to ask students about their ideal way of teaming up, you’d probably get responses like, "I'll do the odd-numbered problems, and my partner can do the even ones." BUT, that’s NOT at all the approach I have in mind for working in pairs.
You need carefully crafted activities that are set up for students to team up and tackle their own challenges. Well, you’re in luck! I have a few activities that meet this criteria. Each of them will help improve your students' math skills!
#1 My ever popular Battle My Math Ship Games! IMO this is THE BEST PARTNER ACTIVITY ever! Students take turns attacking spaces and sinking ships, just like the original game of Battleship. You can print and go or have your students play digitally. Over 100 different math concepts to choose from, so you can find the exact review for your students. Perfect to enhance engagement and reduce math anxiety!
Educator's Review: If you aren't using the Battle My Math Ship resources yet...you are ABSOLUTELY missing out. The students love the game - and it evens the playing field a bit for struggling students as there is a little luck involved. My students wish there was math battleship for every topic they study. Zero prep (make a copy) and go. – Allyson B.
Learn more about this game and find out what educators are saying HERE.
#2 Take the hassle out of checking math problems with these Partner Check review activities. These user-friendly, printable worksheets are designed to promote independent learning, reinforce math skills, and give students instant feedback. Perfect for building confidence and sharing different perspectives! You can learn more about these dynamic activities HERE.
What educators are saying about these activities...
Wow! My students were so engaged. Each wanted to be the first to get them all right. I love the way they excitedly continued to the end, celebrating each success with fist pumps and "I rocked this!" Thanks for a great resource. – Jeana H.
I really enjoyed using this activity with my students. I like for them to work in partners to practice the skills we learn, but I find that sometimes one person does all the work while the other just copies/listens to the other. This activity was a great way for both people to be actively engaged in the process of practicing skills. – Danielle O’Haren
These "sets" are great! I love that there are several options in each pack--single student, partners, and triples! These are favorites with my students and good conversations arise when the answers are not the same. My students are enjoying this activity and I hope to have all of these in my tool box. – E.G.
#3 These no-prep, iStep activities are designed similar to iMessage. Each sheet includes a problem to solve and text bubbles for verbal steps and student work. Great activity for partners. Perfect review activity for after an assessment or early finishers! Perfect for improving communication skills and social skills! You can learn more about these activities HERE.
#4 These Mathbook activities are designed similar to Facebook. Each sheet includes space for a student profile picture, name, date, emoji, an “I can” statement, a math problem to solve, and space for the teacher or a peer to put their profile picture and write a positive comment. Perfect for improving communication skills and social skills! You can learn more about these activities HERE.
Learn about some other FUN partner activities …
Top 3 Strategies for Effective Partner Work in the Middle School Math Classroom from Lauren Fulton Math
Math Partner Games, Spring Puzzles, and End of Year Activities for 3rd, 4th, and 5th from Math Tech Connections
4th and 5th Grade Math Partner Games from Jennifer Findley
Speed Dating from Teaching High School Math