# Task Cards for Math Talk!!!

When I became a math teacher, I knew I wanted to do things differently. AKA Drop the drill-style worksheets and engage my students in things like task card for math talk.

Not only am I someone who gets bored easily, but I also live in a rural community, so I’m no stranger to the need to move and interact with others in order to learn. And I know that many, if not most, of our students are the same.

So I’ve worked hard throughout my teaching career to be the teacher that I needed as a kid. And one of my favorite strategies for effectively engaging students in math learning is through **math talks**.

**Why is Math Talk Important?**

Simply put, **math talks involve facilitating rich conversations around math concepts**.

Math talks provide students with an opportunity for deeper understanding through social learning. You present problems of varying complexity to students, depending on where they’re at, and have them discuss those math concepts in a positive, constructive way. Here’s a great article that explores how you can facilitate math talks!

It’s always fun for me to watch students talk through different mathematical scenarios, build on each other’s knowledge, and debate on the most efficient and effective way to solve real-life problems.

When I pair this with math task cards such as these – Naming, Classifying, and Measuring Angles, it magically turns a boring paper-pencil learning activity into one where students feel liberated from repetitive worksheets – even though they’re essentially working on the exact same questions!

Wild, I know. Kids are funny. But you knew that.

**How do you use Task Cards for Math Talk?**

There are so many different ways to use task cards for math talk, such as this one example that I use sometimes with my “Simplifying Algebraic Expressions task cards freebie”.

Here are a few other examples of different classroom strategies I use!

**Small Group Teamwork**

Small group teamwork in small groups of 4 around desks – this sounds simple enough to facilitate some math talk… but I like to add a little twist to this.

Ready for it?

I make the kids stand.

Yep! You read that right. It’s random, but it’s different, and it works!

Sometimes I will remove chairs to encourage standing, though **obviously not every kid wants to nor can stand to work**. So, the chairs are always accessible if they need to sit.

Everything else about this strategy is standard enough. I divide students into groups of 4 (no more than that!) and set up their desks and tables such that they can stand around them to work. Each group is given a set of math task cards like these (Solving Equations with 1 and 2 step problems), and they engage in effective math talk to solve all the problems together.

In the meantime, I float around to listen in on conversations, not only to assess understanding, but to make sure they’re on task. Because of course, we have to.

Another tip for this activity in order to discourage distractions: I use multiple versions of these task cards (Solving Equations with Absolute Value) to decrease talking across groups, since no group will have the same set!

**Moving around the classroom**

Another way to get students standing around to do their math talk is to post the task cards in different areas of the classroom.

This strategy is pretty straightforward. You place the math task cards around the room, partner up your students, and have them engage in math talk to work through the problems together.

Best if you could provide them with clipboards so that they can easily record their response in the recording sheets.

**Change the Environment**

One final strategy that I’d like to share is to switch up the space where the kids are working. Not only does it give the kids a break from routine, but it also gives you a bit of reprieve from being cooped up in your classroom too. Win-win!

What I like to do is have the kids spread out down the hallway, perhaps in another room in the school, or maybe even outside in the parking lot. Sometimes I post the questions around the new space ahead of time, but usually, I just bring tape and have the kids help me once we get there.

The rest is much like strategy #1 and #2: students engage in effective math talk to solve the problems on my math task cards (Composite Volume Task Cards) together. As they work, I walk around and listen in to check in on their progress.

It’s nice, because the different environment and group work increases mental stimulation and serves to help students remember better. And in the end, that’s the goal!

**So Sarah, What’s included in the Math Task Card resources?**

Let me tell you!

My math task cards have 24, 12, or 8 cards included, depending on the complexity of the math problems. They’re great for laminating so that you can reuse them.

Every resource also has a recording sheet provided. You can opt to have the kids just work on the whiteboard or on chart paper though. It’s entirely up to you.

Here’s a link to my TPT Store (Task Cards) where you can find all of my Math Task Cards available for you.

**Classroom Management Strategies: Some Considerations**

Sometimes, teachers are nervous about facilitating math talks because of the potential chaos that can ensue – and I don’t blame them!

Here are some tips to make the activities run more smoothly:

- Use a timer to keep students on track
- Alternate partners so students can learn from different people
- Teach effective math talk
- Make note of who does not work well together
- Change up the classroom layout
- Have students complete on recording sheets, whiteboards, chart paper, or their own notebooks

Intrigued? Excited to try these strategies? Let me know in the comments, or by emailing me at sarahdavis@mathandsciencesarah.com! I can also create CUSTOM MATH TASK CARDS for you too! Just reach out and we’ll get the conversation started.