Math Rounding Games for 3rd Graders

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Rounding challenges many third-grade students. They often forget if the number is rounded up or down, which number is the deciding number and why rounding is important. Math games that focus on rounding give kids an alternative method of practicing the skill. These games work well during center time, as a warm-up activity or as a filler activity at the end of math class.

1 Around the World

This popular classroom game adapts easily to fit any educational concept. The basic premise starts with one child as the challenger. The rest of the class sits in a circle while the challenger stands next to one of the seated children. The teacher holds up a card for only those two students to answer. The first person to answer correctly wins and moves on to challenge the next person in the circle. The person who didn't win that round sits down. The goal is for a student to make it all the way around the circle in one turn by answering all of the questions first and correctly.

In this case, you would create a set of number cards. You hold up a card and the two players must say what number it would round to. For example, if you're working on rounding to the nearest 100 and the number card says 273, the first person to say "300" is the winner of that round. That player stands by the next student where the process is repeated. This helps kids think quickly about rounding in an entertaining format.

2 Rounding Container Game

You'll need an open area to play this game to ensure the kids don't get hurt. If you don't have enough space in the classroom, move to the gym or cafeteria. Start with 11 baskets, tubs or other containers. Label the containers 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100. These are the rounding containers. You'll also need several cards with numbers that the students will round. You can use any number between 1 and 99, but skip the numbers on the baskets (10, 20, 30...). The number cards are scattered on the floor with the containers lined up along one side of the play area. One at a time, a student runs to the pile, grabs a number and places it the correct rounding container. For example, a card with 98 on it would go into the 100 container. The first student returns to the group and the next student repeats the process. At the end of the game, go through each container as a class to make sure all of the numbers were placed correctly. You also can modify this game to work with rounding to the nearest 100 or 1,000 by changing the container labels and number cards.

3 Dice Game

You'll need different colored dice for each place value you're using in this math game. For example, if you're rounding to the nearest 100, you'll need three dice. Assign each color to a certain place value. For example, red represents the ones place, blue represents the tens place and green represents the hundreds place. This makes it easy for the students to construct the same number. Working in small groups, one child rolls the dice. The students write down the resulting number based on the colors. They then round it to the nearest 100. The first child to get the answer gets a point.

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.