Math Tool Kits!

So here’s something I am excited about. πŸ˜€

I have just finished making a class set of Math Tool-Kits for a grade 3/4 classroom. The tools included are intended to support mathematical thinking around the operations – in particular addition and multiplication (and of course their inverses, subtraction and division).

The materials list is below. A photo of the “kit” is featured below. Click on the photo to see an enlarged version.


I spent about $6 on dice, $12 on counters and $20 on Ziploc bags (because I wanted the giant sized ones…). Everything else involved photocopying and laminating costs, which I was able to do through my school.

    Math Tool-Kit Materials List

makes one bag or one tool kit, for one kid…

1 extra large Ziploc Bag (2 gallon size… they come 10 to a box and are bigger than the standard freezer bag.)
2 dice – one white, one coloured
about 50 clear counters (I bought containers of 100 see through Bingo chips for $1 at the dollar store) in a snack-sized Ziploc
1 Overhead marker
1 small piece of fabric for erasing (optional – kleenex will do)
1 sheet of full ten frame cards, copied on blue bond paper and cut up (30 cards in all)
1 sheet of partial ten frame cards, copied on pink bond paper and cut up (30 cards in all)
a sandwich sized baggie to hold the ten-frame cards
1 laminated 100-chart.pdf (copied on bond paper)
1 laminated double-ten-frame.pdf (copied on bond paper)
1 laminated number-lines.pdf (copied on bond paper)
1 laminated dot-array.pdf (copied on bond paper)
1 dot array angle tool (aka two 2-inch strips of bond paper, stapled together perpendicularly)
instructions for games to play

consider adding things like a calculator over time…

**NOTE: All these blacklines (with the exception of the number lines) came from the Van de Walle resource, “Teaching Student Centered Mathematics, Grade 3-5”. They are available on-line… click here for more.

I enllisted the aid of some WONDERFUL students in Division 4 πŸ˜€ who helped cut and trim and stuffed baggies for me on rainy days this past week, and so the task wasn’t so onerous.

I put labels on the outside of the giant Ziploc, with the words “MY MATH TOOL KIT” and space for the student’s name. And today, one of my colleagues (who uses a smaller Ziploc bag and some different contents) told me she VELCROs her math tool kits to the outside of her students’ desks!

cool. πŸ™‚

Have fun!


Here are some conceptual math games to play with the materials in students’ Math Tool Kits! Click on these files and you’ll get a pdf of the game.


Of these, my favourites are “I wish I had…” and “I wish I had.. Challenge“.

These games are written as instructions for students, so you can print them and include them in the Math Tool Kits for play. I have adapted good stuff from other sources – Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks and Teaching Student Centered Mathematics. Originating sources are referenced in the footers for the games.

Carole πŸ™‚


9 responses

  1. The games are wonderful.I will repare those materials with the help of my daughter this weekend. She will like them for sure. By the way, she loves to play Chinese checkers. I think that is a good way to practice her math skills.

  2. Michelle LaBounty | Reply

    Hi Carole, I’m currently ordering our planners/agendas for next year and would like to include some blackline masters i.e. one hundred chart. Do you know where I can get a clean usable copy of a place value chart and multiplication tables? Any suggestions of anything else? Thanks!

  3. Hi Carole – I just you an email with the wrong return email. Here is the correct one…..

  4. Hey Carole
    Love the math tool kits idea! Instead of pieces of fabric, you could get old (fairly clean) socks (who doesn’t have a few hundred pairless ones lying around) – then students can slip them over their non-writing hand to wipe. I also use old socks for mini white-board erasers.

  5. I am in the beginning stages of making the Math Kits for our classes. A big, but wonderful job. I can’t seem to find the pdf for the full 100 frame card (in dots). Does it have a different name?

    One hundred thank yous in advance….

    Cath (your tinkerplot friend)

  6. Tracy Rollins | Reply

    These activities and suggestions are really helpful πŸ™‚



  8. I teach K/1. How would their toolkit look? Games that you would suggest?


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