10 Minute Goal

There are plenty of flash card applications for handhelds like Quizzler (Palm & Windows Mobile), MathAce (Palm), and LcmGcf (Palm),

I've written before about ways to use flashcard software in fun ways:

  • Time students to see how many problems they can do in five minutes.
  • See if students can reach a score of 50 out of 50. (That means that if a student misses a problem, he or she must reset the score and try again.)
  • Have students play with a partner by taking turns answering questions on the same handheld.
  • Using two handhelds, students race against a partner to see who can get the highest score in five minutes.
Last week I used another technique to motivate students that I learned from a fellow Willowdale teacher. A class of 24 second graders and I decided that in 10 minutes, everyone should try to complete 100 subtraction problems. We multiplied 100 by 24. 2,400 subtraction problems in 10 minutes was our goal. We put the settings into MathAce and I set my CFB Timer. The timer beeped 10 minutes later. I invited each student to show me his or her score. I recorded the number of correct problems into my handheld's calculator. After adding in the last student's score and a drum roll, I was proud to announce that the class completed 3,204 subtraction problems! The second graders exceeded their goal and were rewarded with time to play their choice of games: Coconut Fern or Memorix. A class of 23 third graders did a similar activity the next school day. The goal was 2,300 multiplication problems in 10 minutes. They barely met their goal, beating it by 13 problems, but were still rewarded with time to play their choice of games. Next time we'll increase the goals and see how students do. I bet they'll be motivated to practice their math facts between now and then!