How to Include More Math in Middle School Math Class

Use the Date to Encourage More Math Thinking in
Middle and Elementary School
Updated 5/2020

Ideas for using the date to encourage more math thinking in middle and upper elementary school math class.

How Can You Use Math in Writing the Date?

In 2015, I started adding a little extra math into my classes, homeroom and last period (homeroom students again) – by using the date! I had done this years ago, but hadn’t used the idea in a while, so I brought it back to my middle school math classroom in two ways

How to Use Math With the Date, Method 1:

Using the date to add more math thinking to middle school math

​To include more math in the middle school class, use all the digits in the date to create an equation.

  • The digits should stay in the same order they are in the date, and any operation signs can be added in between any digits.
  • The equal sign can also be placed between any digits.
  • Digits can be used as exponents, as in the example shown, and you can add square roots signs if you can find a way to use them.

How to Use Math With the Date, Method 2:

Writing the date as a mathematical expression

The other way I used the date to include more math in the classroom was to write the date so students have to evaluate an expression for each number in the date.

It’s been fun to see some students writing these in the corner of their notebooks during class! Others have asked to write their equations or expressions on the board during the last period of the day.

Five Benefits of Using Math Dates

What I love about including math ideas is that they:

  1. Are quick
  2. Can be completed at any time (beginning of class, finished early time, closing of class, or in homeroom)
  3. Help kids to expand their number sense and use some “out of the box” thinking
  4. Help improve students’ understanding of equivalent expressions
  5. Can be ‘expanded’ to challenge students:
  • Students can create their own expressions 
  • Students can evaluate the expressions (using the bar as a

       division sign – a student did this on his own one day!)

  • If you happen to make a “mistake,” students can find it and

       correct it:-)

6. EXTRA Math Benefits

Other fabulous benefits of using the Math Dates. You can:

Introduce Math Concepts

  • Math Dates can be used to introduce notations or concepts students haven’t seen before, like the cube root or exponent rules. As you discuss the date in class, a quick overview of a particular concept can help set students up for greater success when it comes time to teach the concept in the course of the curriculum (especially if they’ve seen it in several different dates!).

​Reinforce Math Concepts or Facts

  • Math Dates can be used to reinforce some basic concepts, like the meaning of exponents. I don’t know about your students, but mine often forget that 2 cubed means 2 x 2 x 2, not 2 x 3. Using the exponents in the date keeps bringing that concept back for review. 
  • ​In 2017, I used the year part of the date to reinforce that 51 is divisible by 3 – this was such a huge help to students who assumed 51 was prime.

If your students are struggling to retain a certain concept, give the math dates a try – work that concept into the date.


Where Can You Find Math Dates Created for You?

I used to post the dates on Instagram every week, but in the fall of 2021, I started posting them  my Facebook group and sending them to my email community every week. 

Feel free to join my group or subscribe to my emails:-)

I created Math Dates resources for you to use throughout the year – these have been published by individual months and as year-long resource on TPT. These are great for middle schoolers and have a BUNCH of number puzzles included as well.

I’ve also added a year of dates for upper elementary math.

How do you include more math in the middle school classroom?


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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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