Math Centers for 5th Grade Students: Ideas for Teachers

Math centers provide an opportunity to shake up your classroom routine. Your students will love the chance to get up out of their seats. In addition, centers can help to create a community within the classroom because the students are working together and socializing while still working. Keep reading for some ideas on how you can use math centers in your 5th grade class.

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How to Incorporate Math Centers into Your Classroom

To have the activity run smoothly, you may want to consider the abilities of the students that are in each group. While the centers should be fun, the students should also be grouped with people that they can work with effectively. You may want to put a time limit on each center to avoid the students becoming bored after finishing the activity. Similarly, time limits can ensure that each group has a chance to go to each center before the end of the period.

You may want to think about other considerations when you incorporate math centers into your curriculum. Many of the center ideas listed below require the students to have a basic understanding of the concept; therefore, you might view the centers as independent practice. In addition, consider the theme of each center. They should be general enough so that they can be applied to every unit you teach. For instance, every unit in the math curriculum will have new vocabulary for the students to learn. As a result, a vocabulary themed center can be used for each unit throughout the year.

Math Centers


The more students interact with a math vocabulary word, the more likely it is that they will remember the term. At this center, learning can be made fun through a vocabulary game. Matching games or an adaptation of the 'Go Fish' card game can be especially adaptable for centers because it doesn't require the students to leave their seats or get too loud.

Word Problems

Word problems are often difficult for students because they require students to apply mathematical operations to a real world setting. Like vocabulary words, the more students have practice with word problems the better they will understand them. At this center, the students can work together to find the answers.

Hands-on Station

In fifth grade, students are introduced to volume. This concept can be very difficult to visualize, but physical objects can help students understand. Similarly, students can use a map to measure distance or practice fractions by using fake slices of pie.

Real World Application

Some students may have difficulty connecting the concepts they learn in the classroom with the world around them. At this station, you can have newspaper or magazine articles that provide examples of how math is used in real life. Together, the students can read and respond to the articles.

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