I want math to be fun (yes, math can be fun!!) I want my students engaged and I want them talking to each other. While there is a time and place for quiet work, kids learn a ton from collaboration and conversation. I wanted a way to engage my students with their math facts beyond just in games and written format. So, “Prove it!” began in our classroom!
We have number talks each day in class, and we still do those daily. Prove It works with our math facts. Right now we play Prove It with addition and subtraction facts within 10.
Here is how we play:
1. Students sit on the carpet or gathering area and face me.
2. I hold up a flashcard similar to the one below. Mine are handwritten – nothing fancy about them, and that is ok! I promise they work the same as fancy store bought ones 🙂
3. I let students look at the problem for a few seconds and sometimes I read it aloud (that is up to you).
4. When I say “Prove it!” Students turn to the face the person next to them (we do a lot of turn and talks so these behaviors have been practiced – otherwise you will want to do some modeling!) and they each solve the problem and “prove” to their partner why the answer is what it is.
This is excellent to get them thinking about problem solving and also explaining their reasoning to others!
Sometimes they explain to their partner in just words, other times they may show their partner using their fingers, as this group does.
5. After about 2 min or so (or however long you feel they need) I regroup them. I have a little chant I picked up in student teaching years ago that goes: Teacher (like a newscaster) “And we’re back in 3, 2, 1”
Kids: “Let’s Share!” (clap, clap) and then it’s silent. It works every time I swear!
6. I take an answer and write it down on the board. I then ask if anyone got a different answer. Usually there are a few. I write them all down. We are really big on being risk-takers and mistake-makers and we focus a lot on how making mistakes help us learn, so we take the time to explore all answers, right or wrong.
7. I model solving the problem with their help until we come to conclusion on what the correct answer is and why. I always, always make a point to thank them all as a group for being brave to share their thinking, even if it was hard or they weren’t sure.
That’s it! You would be surprised at how meaningful this game has been and how much I have learned about some of my kids’ thinking in these 5 min every day.
For example: The other day I noticed that every time one of my students saw a subtraction problem, her answer was always the top number. 5-3 was 5…..6-2 was 6. I couldn’t understand her explanation very well and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out was she was doing to get those answers.
Until.... I watched her play Prove It with a friend. Then it clicked! For 5-3 she would hold up 5 fingers on 1 hand, and 3 on the other. THEN take away 3, so she was left with the original 5! She was adding first, then subtracting. I just couldn’t see that before. Now, after watching her with her partner, I knew! Whew! In her math group the next day, guess what we worked on? 🙂
This game has been a fun, quick, simple way for us to build conversation, collaboration, and math facts! It can be adapted to all levels of fact practice. If you give it a try, let me know! Already do something similar? Let me know that too – I love to try things out!
You can grab a free printable with the directions for Prove It by clicking the picture below!
Founder at The Kindergarten Connection
Alex is a Kindergarten teacher with a passion for making learning fun and engaging. She's earned a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education, and Masters Degrees in Special Education and Curriculum Design. Alex is a night owl, coffee lover, and she owns more than 2,000 children’s books. Alex lives with her husband and their big black Labrador, Tank.