You are almost at the finish line! The school year is winding down and you’ve got check marks next to all those standards you were to teach. Testing season is done and now. . . you’ve got a few weeks left. Your students are ready for summer, and let’s be honest, so are you. Their focus and engagement in class needs lots of coaxing and your creative juices are running thin. Add to that all the end of the year meetings, programs, and check-list and it feels like the final weeks can last forever. If this sounds like you, you are a completely normal teacher facing the end of the year. Congratulations! You’re almost finished. Today I’ve got some of my best end of the year math activities to help you make it through the final weeks and enjoy the last days you have with your students.
Make a Math Class Memory Wheel!
As the school year winds down, finding engaging math activities to keep your students motivated and learning is key. One such activity that combines fun and memories is the use of memory wheels. I love having my students create math memory wheels toward the end of the school year. They are a creative way for them to reflect on various concepts they learned and showcase their knowledge.
What are Wheels in the Classroom?
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of how to do memory wheels, let’s chat about the concept of wheels. I love using wheels in my classroom as a way for students to take doodle notes on all the math concepts that we cover. The students absolutely love completing the wheels. The finished product makes a great interactive tool students can refer back to all year long. Did I mention that students love them?
These Doodle Note Wheels promote active learning, critical thinking, and concept retention by engaging students in a hands-on, interactive experience. Notes and concrete examples are given for each math concept. Students finish up with a few practice problems and coloring in the wheel. They are an invaluable tool in my classroom.
Since we use them all year for math, I thought that wrapping up the year with a memory wheel was the perfect way to wrap up our class.
The goal of a Math Class Memory Wheel is to connect a fun review of math concepts with some memories of class. Think of it like a memory book or mini-yearbook just for math class.
To get started, all you need is a blank Math Memory Wheel template. Then decide what sections you’d like to include on your wheel. I like to mix up the “fun” topics with the math topics to keep it engaging. These will become the labels for each of the sections on the memory wheel. I find that the 6-section template makes a nice memory wheel. But in this blank wheel template set you get options for wheels with three to eight sections so you can choose the one that works best for you. There is also a blank wheel that you can use and allow students to design their own wheel.
Need some ideas for sections? Here are some of my favorites from over the year:
- 3 Things I Learned in Math Class
- Favorite Math Topic Learned
- Hardest Math Topic Learned
- I’m Really Good at. . . (math skill)
- I’m Not So Good at. . . (math skill)
- I Loved Learning. . . (math skill)
- I Didn’t Like Learning. . . (math skill)
- Friends from Math Class
- Funniest Class Discussion
- My Math Teacher
- Most Memorable Math Lesson
- Pop Culture in Pictures (students draw things that were popular during the year)
- Me as Math (students describe themselves using math vocabulary and equations)
Now all you have to decide is if you are going to pre-determine the topics for the wheel or let students choose their own. If you let students choose, I would give parameters like at least 1/2 of the topics need to be math skill related. If you pre-determine the topics I would suggest adding those titles to each section of the wheel before copying for students. It’s really easy to do this using the digital template from the wheel template set.
A Quick Review of the Year
Before my students run free with designing their math memory wheel, we do a class brain dump on the board. I have my students shout out different math concepts they remember learning (fractions, decimals, double-digit multiplication, etc.) throughout the year. We start with this whole class brainstorm because it is the perfect way to remember all.the.things! The brain dump will help jog a few memories which will make it easier for students to fill in their wheel.
Let the Reminiscing Begin!
Now that you’ve introduced the memory wheel and given your students any instructions, they are ready to jump in. If you created the headers for each section, then just copy the wheel and give each student a copy. They will do the rest. If you are having students make the entire wheel, then they will need a blank memory wheel template. You can print these off or have students complete them digitally. The Wheel Template Pack includes both the printable and digital versions. Just choose the option that works best for you.
It’s time for students to get working on their memory wheel. One of two things will happen when they start. Your classroom will become silent because students will be so engrossed in their creations. Or, your classroom will be filled with the happy chatter of math class memories. Both are pretty great options!
I would suggest planning a couple of class periods for students to complete this activity. You can have them complete the entire wheel or focus on one section a day. If you do one section a day make sure to save a few minutes at the end of the day for students to share. Once the Math Class Memory Wheels are finished, I hang them around the room so we can do a gallery walk. I’ve also had students pair up, or share with the whole class. Everyone is so excited to see each other’s creations!
If you’d like more ideas on using memory wheels in your classroom, make sure to check out my post, Memory Wheels – End of School Year Activity to learn more!
Math + Art = Tessellations
I have another crowd-pleaser from the end of year math activities vault for you! If you’re looking for an exciting and creative way to engage your middle school math students, tessellations can be the perfect solution. Tessellations are geometric patterns that repeat infinitely without overlapping or leaving gaps.
Want to watch your middle school students have their minds blown? Introduce tessellations! The students LOVE learning about and creating their own tessellations. And the detail of getting them “just right” will have even your speediest of students slowing down!
After showing my students some examples, we take a little time to look for tessellations in the real world. The students are amazed at how often they will find tessellations. It’s almost like a ‘once you see it – you can’t unsee it’ experience.
Then I get them excited by telling them that they are going to create their own tessellations. If there is ever a math lesson that is met with cheers – this is it! Want to know how I teach my students to make a tessellation? Check out this short video.
By introducing your students to tessellations, you deepen students’ understanding of geometric concepts but also ignite their imagination and creativity. Your students will love creating their own tessellations. Find out even more about how I use tessellations in the classroom.
Writing Letters About Math
I know what you are thinking, writing letters about math sounds boring. Don’t worry – these aren’t just any old letters. These are letters filled with self-reflection and memories. Letters designed to encourage students.
Letters to Self
This is an awesome self-reflection activity and a great opportunity to teach your students how they can grow from reflection. Have your students choose 3 – 4 math concepts they learned during the year. They will reflect on any accomplishments and struggles they overcame during the process of learning the concept. Then have them write a letter to themselves about the experience.
This activity is a great one to help students see the power of perseverance, their willingness to try new things, and how they have grown in math.
Based on what they learned about themselves, I love to have students close their letters with one piece of advice for themselves for next year’s math class.
Letters to Future Students
Another fun end of the year math activity is having students write letters to your future students. I remind students about their first day of school. How they were a little nervous, a little unsure, and a little excited all at the same time. How they had questions about what was to come. Then I let them know that they have a chance to help next year’s students start the year off right by answering some of those questions and unknowns we all have at the beginning of a new year.
As a class, we brainstorm a list of questions that students usually have when starting a new class. Then I set students free to write a letter to one of my future students answering some of those questions. I encourage them to explain some of the different topics that they will learn and to give them advice on what to do in class.
Once they are finished I save the letters. I like to hand them out on the first day of school the following year.
Wrap It Up
I hope these end of year math activities help make what’s left of your school year an easy and memorable one with your students! You can transform the end of the school year into an exciting and productive time for both you and your students. In my post, End of School Year Activities, you can find more end of the year activities that can be easily adapted and used in math class.
Save these End of the Year Math Activities!
Remember to pin this post to your favorite end of the year or math Pinterest board so you can always find these end of year math activities.