Math Wheels for Note-taking?

Digital Color by Number Activities for Middle School

Two Types of Digital Color by Number Activities

Remote Learning Activities
There are so many distance learning activities available for your upper elementary and middle school math classes these days!
What will work best for your math students (or for your ELA students, or science students, etc, if you also teach other classes)?​What do your students like? But just as importantly, if not more importantly, what provides great practice of the math (or other) skills?

Since I’m such a lover of color by number activities, I want to discuss two styles of digital color by number:

  1. the ‘pixel art’ mystery picture style
  2. the ‘fill color bucket’ style.

Digital Color by Number Activities Overview
Let’s start with a quick overview of these color by number/color by answer types, in case you aren’t familiar with them.

Pixel art mystery pictures: 
1) Created in Google Sheets; could be downloaded and used in Excel.
2) Students solve, enter their answers in the cells, and color appears in the squares if the answer is correct. If the answer is incorrect, the squares may stay white or show an incorrect indicator, depending on how the creator designed it.
‘Fill color bucket’ color by number:
1) Created in Google Slides; can be downloaded and used in PPT.
2) Students solve and enter their answers in text boxes.
3) Students find the answer on the coloring section and use the fill color bucket to color the shape.
Pros and cons of each coloring activity
Each of the items on my ‘pros and cons’ list could be viewed as a ‘pro,’ depending on your point of view, or as a ‘con.’
So I’m not necessarily labeling them as one or the other (which would just be my opinion); I’m simply stating what the possible benefits and drawbacks could be:-)
Pixel art mystery picture:
1) Students don’t have to engage in the coloring aspect of the activity – they need to solve, enter the answer, and the coloring appears.
2) Fairly quick activity, especially if a student understands the skills quite well.
3) Students may be able to find the answer in the conditional formatting, depending on how the conditional formatting was designed.
4) Self-checking: if the squares don’t change color, students know they were incorrect and can enter a new answer.
5) Easy to grade: teachers can see who is on the right track as students are working, if the color is filling in.
‘Fill color’ bucket color by number:
1) Students engage in the coloring – students must look for the answers in the shapes and color each one (they can select more than one shape at a time if comfortable, so that can speed things up).
2) Coloring takes more time, especially if students ‘play’ with the colors a bit to get the shade they want. Choosing their own shades gives them a little chance to be creative.
3) Students may be able to use the answers in the pattern to help them as they’re trying to solve the problems. Depending on the creator, some answers may be quite similar, making it harder for students to ‘guess’ the right answer.
4) Students’ final patterns may look a little different from one another, depending on the shades they chose.
5) Easy to grade: teachers can quickly check the answers on the right hand side or check the coloring pattern.
Both styles of color by number are awesome! But which one is right for your students?
  • Maybe both are good for your students, depending on the day or depending on the content.
  • Maybe different styles are right for different students….we know how different students are:-)

The only way to really know which is ‘best’ is to try both versions and see how it goes!

Create Your Own Coloring Activity
In case you’re looking to create your own color activities, for any subject, I’ve created templates for both styles. You can check them out on TPT.
Create Your Own Color by Answer (Pixel)Create Your Own Color by Answer (fill color bucket)

​I also have a free Integer Operations CBN you can try.

What other digital activities are you loving right now?


Welcome to Cognitive Cardio Math! I’m Ellie, a wife, mom, grandma, and dog ‘mom,’ and I’ve spent just about my whole life in school! With nearly 30 years in education, I’ve taught:

  • All subject areas in 4th and 5th grades
  • Math, ELA, and science in 6th grade (middle school)

I’ve been creating resources for teachers since 2012 and have worked in the elearning industry for about five years as well!

If you’re looking for ideas and resources to help you teach math (and a little ELA), I can help you out!



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