August 2, 2011

Math Workstation or Fast Finisher Activity

Wow, I am amazed at how many people are heading back to school right now.  I thought I went back early and I don't have to report until the 15th.  Whew!  I still have some summer left. Since so many are going back now, I thought I would share an easy math workstation or fast finisher activity.  It's called BLOCK IT OUT!

I had heard of Block It Out from several primary teachers over the years, but I could never find anything more about it online.  Perhaps I renamed it.  :) I'm sure it exists somewhere, but I just took what I knew about it and made my own boards.

Here's how it works:

Students are looking for numbers that create a correct addition equation. Equations are connected but can go any direction, including up, down, and diagonal. Using colored tiles (or whatever) students cover the equations they spot.  For example, I see 12 = 8 + 4 on the first row, so I could cover those numbers. Also, 9 + 4 = 13 (first row), but maybe that 9 is part of 9 + 1 = 10.  Hmmm......

You see the problem solving skills needed here.  Some kids are quick to figure out they can't leave any squares by themselves.  If you have a lone square, something went wrong.  If the board is covered completely, then the puzzle has been down correctly.  If not, they need to dump their markers and begin again.  I have 4 boards and they get progressively more difficult to keep it exciting and fun.

Free Download - Block It Out Boards #1 & #2

My students (3rd graders)  loved this activity last year. They pulled out the boards whenever they had free time, worked with partners, or worked by themselves.  You can create these boards for multiplication too, I just haven't done that yet. 

I love quick and easy workstations that involve minimal supplies and set up, but still have academic purpose and engagement.

Please comment and share your favorite math workstation or fast finisher idea.


  1. Wow, this is a great idea! I can't wait to use this activity with my 3rd graders this year. Thanks so much for sharing!!!
    : ) Nicole

  2. This is a great idea! I will be using this in my math station for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing! Hopefully I can make some with multiplication too!

  4. Great site! I'm new to blogging and love getting ideas for the classroom and my blog! I've heard of this activity, so thank you for the freebie!

    Teacher's Corner


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