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Mathematics Activities for the Fifth Grade Classroom

By Keren Perles

Fifth graders are traditionally tenacious when it comes to avoiding math work. So how can you help your fifth graders learn math concepts? These fifth grade math activities will spice up your classroom and help your students learn in a creative way.

Decimal Activity

Do your students struggle with decimals? That could be because they don’t understand their real-world applications. To help them connect decimals with the real world, consider creating a “store” in your classroom. Display several items along one side of the room, and have students complete activities involving the class “store.” For example, you might ask them how much it would cost to buy several items (adding decimals), you might ask them how much more one item costs than another (subtracting decimals), or you might ask them how much it would cost to buy four of an item (multiplying decimals).

Equivalent Fractions Activity

If your students are having a hard time understanding why ¾ and 6/8 are equivalent fractions, you can help them with this fraction activity. Just give each student two pieces of paper. Show students how to fold one of them into quarters and the other into eighths. Then have students color in three of the four sections in the “quarters paper” and six of the eight sections in the “eighths paper.” Students should be able to visually recognize how the two are equivalent. Then have students explain how many sixteenths they would need to equal ¾ or 6/8. You can repeat this activity using other equivalent fractions, such as 2/3, 4/6, and 6/9.

Lowest Common Multiple (LCM) / Greatest Common Factor (GCF) Activity

Divide students into pairs, and give each pair of students a deck of cards. Have students divide the deck in half so that each student has 26 cards. Then have them each turn over their top card and place it on the table. The first student to find the lowest common multiple (LCM) of the two numbers gets to keep the cards. The student who has all of the cards at the end of the game wins! You can make this game into a tournament if you’d like.

You can play this game to review greatest common factors (GCF) as well. To do this, however, you’ll have to make your own cards, photocopy them, and have them pairs of students cut them out before playing. Make sure to choose many higher numbers that have multiple factors, such as 12, 32, 40, or 45. Remind students that sometimes the greatest common factor will be “one”!