Grade 3 Times Tables Fun & Games (#212)


A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 212

For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.”

And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times. Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful.

Today’s post features an example of how fun and games can make learning times tables more fun and doable.  Note that this is taken from the Math By Hand newsletter, issue #39.  To receive FREE, fun math lessons and activities in your email inbox every week, subscribe to the Math By Hand newsletter, using the opt-in form on the right.



1) You can make a set of pick-up sticks with your children’s help. (Making them is 1/2 the fun!) Cut 30-50 wooden dowels in equal lengths, sharpen both ends with a pencil sharpener and sand them smooth. Here are suggested lengths and widths: 12″ x 1/4″ – 15″ x 3/8″ – 24″ x 1/2″ (you can make them larger as well, for use as a fun outdoor set).

2) Apply masking tape all around about 3 inches from the point, at both ends of each stick. Using at least 3 bright colors, paint both ends with quick-drying poster paint. Leave the special stick used as the “picker upper” unpainted, or paint it with bands of color. Remove the tape when dry.

3) You’ll need 30-50 small self-stick labels. Make 3-5 sets of the numbers 0-9, using black crayon or magic marker, and wrap a label tightly around one end of each stick, under the color. (Or apply the number labels to a ready-made set instead.)

4) Play just like pick-up sticks, with a twist. Have pencil and paper on hand for each player, and for every 2 sticks picked up, each player must either add or subtract/ grades 1-2, or multiply/ grades 3+ and the winner is the one with the most sticks and/ or the most correct answers!

It is absolutely essential that times tables be solidly in place by mid to end of Grade 3.  Drill and kill is not the answer however.  Having fun with it is.  Why?  Because knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for more Grade 3 fun!


Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00