Keeping middle school students engaged in learning just might be one of the million-dollar questions from middle school teachers everywhere! If you are feeling the struggle, you are not alone!
Over the years I’ve tried many different types of activities with the goal of increasing engagement. Some worked and some didn’t. Today, I’m excited to share one of my favorite middle school math activities that not only engages students but keeps them engaged too!
Let’s talk about digital task cards. Keep reading to find out how middle school math task cards can revolutionize the engagement in your classroom.
What Are Task Cards?
I love using task cards in my classroom, but I know that not everyone uses them. In fact, you might be trying to figure out exactly what a task card is. Task cards are skills-based practice or review activities.
Instead of a traditional worksheet with multiple questions on one page, task cards focus on one question or activity per card. A set of task cards will provide students with the same, or more, practice than a worksheet or textbook questions, but with a completely different feel.
Students love task cards! I think that focusing on one question at a time makes the task less overwhelming for our students.
But I also think that task cards lend themselves to activities that feel more game-like. And. . . we all know that when we can make learning activities fun we can increase student engagement.
Task Cards in Middle School
The concept of task cards has its roots in elementary centers. But I am here to tell you that task cards are not just for the primary or intermediate grades! Task cards are the perfect addition to the middle school classroom. Not only are task cards engaging, but they are a great way to provide focused practice on a specific skill or concept.
Task cards can be completed by students individually, but they also work well with students working together. This collaboration helps students problem-solve, communicate, and learn from one another.
Working with older students, we have more flexibility when it comes to activities they can complete independently.
This allows us to use task cards in both printable and digital formats. Digital task cards follow the same format as printed task cards. Students access the digital task cards on a device and work through each of the cards. Digital task cards definitely feel more like a learning app than a traditional classroom activity.
Using Digital Task Cards
When I use digital math task cards, I upload them to our Google Classroom. I can assign them to students just as I do any other assignment. But if you don’t use Google Classroom, these activities can be shared with students using a share link.
I usually pair my students up with one another when they are completing a task card assignment. Each partner works through the problem on the task card. Then they check in with each other to check their work. They put on their detective hats to search for the error if there is a discrepancy.
TEACHER TIP: Looking for a new way to partner students? Check out my partnering cards. These allow for a quick review while also creating our partner assignments. Check out a free resource I use in my classroom to group my students while sneaking in a quick review of previous math skills!
Another great thing about digital math task cards is they are self-checking. With the correct answers and instant feedback built into the activity, students can learn from their mistakes and apply what they learn to the rest of the task cards. If your students are working in partners, I would have them compare their work and agree on the answer before selecting the correct answer on the slide.
What’s in a Task Card Set?
When I create math task cards, I like to include 30 different task cards in each set. This provides my students with plenty of opportunities to practice the skill or concept. We use them in class as independent practice, but they also work well as stations, or for at-home practice. And. . . sometimes I love to just grab a card or two as a quick review or to fill those couple of extra minutes at the end of the class period.
In addition to the set of digital task cards, I’ve also created a 10-question quiz in Google Forms. This online “quiz” makes a great informal assessment so I can see how the class is doing on a skill or concept. The data I can pull from these allows me to re-teach as a class, identify a small group of students that are struggling with the concept, or check for mastery.
Visit Cognitive Cardio Math on TPT to see all the middle school math task cards I have available. These no-prep, self-checking activities are the perfect addition to your math lesson plans.
Truth or Dare Task Card Games
If there is one childhood game that has been loved for generations, it has to be Truth or Dare! Kids everywhere love this game of intimate secrets and dangerous dares. Don’t worry, this math version is definitely safe for the classroom! No one will be sharing secrets and no pranks will be had. Instead, students will be diving into skill-based review.
My Truth or Dare math task cards take a little twist on the beloved childhood game. If a student chooses ‘Truth’ then they will answer a true or false based question on the target skill. These questions are worth one point.
If a student chooses ‘Dare’ they will be answering a more challenging question that is worth 2 or 3 points. But what is great about both types of questions is that students will be reviewing key vocabulary and solving problems as they practice and review important math skills.
While I have used both printable and digital Truth or Dare games in my classroom, my students always LOVE the digital ones. There’s something about the digital aspect that draws them in. I don’t mind because that means there’s no prep for me! The digital Truth or Dare games are done and ready to assign.
How to Play
After my class has been introduced to the target math skill, we will pull out Truth or Dare. These games are so versatile! Sometimes we will play them as a whole class review. All I have to do is pull them up using Google Slides or download them and open them with PowerPoint. Then I just project them on the screen and we are ready to go!
Other times I’ll have the students play with a partner or in small groups. I can share the game with students by assigning it in Google Classroom or providing them with a share link. Students can play using one computer or tablet, or they can play using different devices and log into the same game.
Since these digital Truth or Dare games are self-checking, I can confidently let my students play as I move through the room monitoring. I know that my students will get immediate feedback on their answers that will guide them in the right way.
Each Truth or Dare game contains 36 question cards and 36 answer cards. Additionally, there is a Truth question grid and a Dare question grid. As the questions are answered they are checked off so students easily know what questions are still available.
Once the slideshow is open, students can select a question from either the Truth or Dare grids. They will go to a slide with the question written. Students will answer the question or solve the problem. The students write answers on the answer sheet slide. Students return to the Truth or Dare grids for the next question after they record their answers.
In addition to the list of Truth and Dare math digital task cards, there is an option for a Truth or Dare template that you can use to create your own digital task cards for any subject area! My students love the Truth or Dare review games in all subject areas!
Cognitive Cardio Math Online Activities
Kids love games. Big kids, little kids, grown-up kids – they all love games. It doesn’t matter if they are hands-on or digital. So gamifying learning is a wonderful way to increase engagement and active learning in the classroom. Digital games help bring fun back into learning and grab the students’ attention. And. . .while they play, they are practicing the targeted skill.
These are some of the big reasons why I have created a website filled with digital task cards and math activities. If you don’t have access to Google Slides or Google Forms, the Cognitive Cardio Online Activities can be your answer!
This entire site is filled with online math games and activities. It includes digital task cards, Truth or Dare games, and more! It is designed to be your go-to resource for math review games. With online games and activities for a variety of math skills and concepts, you will always have a fun, engaging activity for your students.
These games can be projected onto your board and completed as a class during a lesson. Or send students there to work independently or with a partner.
To learn more, please read Online Math Activities for the Middle School Math Class. This post goes into detail about why and how I started my website. It also has frequently asked questions that you may find helpful as you decide what works best for your students!
Final Thoughts on Middle School Math Task Cards
I hope you see all the benefits of using task cards in the middle school classroom. Not only does it increase engagement, but it provides some great targeted learning for key skills. Any opportunity where students get to work with each other, use technology, and play games, all while practicing math, is a great way to create buy-in for their own learning!
Save These Middle School Math Task Cards
Don’t waste time later wondering, “Where was that task card post I saw?” Instead, pin this to your favorite math Pinterest board so you can quickly come back when you need tips and ideas for using task cards in your classroom.