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Math Tip Monday August Back to School Math Ideas

Back to School Math Tip for August
If it’s Monday, it must be a Math Tip!

As a third grade teacher, I want to know the math levels of my students who are coming into a new school year.  I want to know what they remember from second grade and how they go about solving problems.  For that I’ve created a Me & Math Quick Assessment for incoming 3rd graders, which is available for download HERE.

Click READ MORE below to see the entire post.


third grade math assessment
Click on the HERE link to download this FREEBIE!

What does an incoming 3rd grader need to know? Lots!  Ok, well let’s just bring it down to the most important skills they’ll need for doing 3rd grade math:

  • basic addition and subtraction facts
  • mental math
  • regrouping for addition
  • regrouping for subtraction
  • grouping multiples and adding (beginning multiplication)
  • 2 step problems
  • and lots of perseverance!

This 10 problem freebie quickly assesses those skills.  It should take students about 20-30 minutes to complete the assessment.  It even includes a Bonus Question for those smarties and quick finishers.  I’ve also included a customizable copy so you can repeat the assessment with different numbers if needed.  The 10 questions are arranged in order of difficulty. All the student needs to get started is know his/her age.  Yep, the student takes his/her age and then adds or subtracts from it according to the directions.  Since most incoming third graders are either 7, 8, or 9, answers will vary.  Remind the students that EACH box has its own answer.  You start over again in each box with your age. It’s not till the bonus question do you add up all your answers!

third grade quick math assessment
Just 10 questions!

BUT, what’s more important than the correct answer is the problem solving.   With the Scratch Paper sheet, you can later analyze how they solved each problem: 

  • Are basic addition/subtraction facts mastered?
  • Do students forget to regroup? 
  • Do students regroup incorrectly? 
  • Do students put the greater number on the bottom and the lesser number on top and then try to subtract?  
  • Do students give up easily?
  • Do students get frustrated easily?
  • Are students sloppy or inaccurate in their work?
Don’t worry, it won’t count for your grade!

Now, let’s talk about Question 10.  Question number 10 is “tricky” in that it really doesn’t have an answer (at least not in this grade level) because it would result in a negative number (that’s ok, we want to see if students know when they need to regroup and when not to as well as understanding “subtracting from.”).  Let them struggle!
Let them persevere. In the end, you can let them know that the answer results in a negative number, something they’ll learn in 4th and 5th grades (they’ll be so excited that they got to do big kids math!).  They won’t need the answer to number 10 to do the bonus.  They can just add up all the answers they were able to get.

Why do students need to have those skills in place for 3rd grade?  Third grade is all about mastering regrouping and multiplication.  If you’re not familiar with the SBAC or PARCC assessments, many problems also include 2 step or even multi-step problem solving.  More importantly, students need to leave 3rd grade with a solid understanding of place value, regrouping and multiplication.  If you need more resources to teach the CCSS, or just third grade math, come check out the math resources HERE in my store.  Good luck and have a great year!

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