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Brainy Apples: Bright Idea: BANG! A Twist on a Math Fact Fluency Game
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Bright Idea: BANG! A Twist on a Math Fact Fluency Game

So excited to have you back for another Bright Idea! This time I would love to share one of my favorite games to work on fact fluency with students. You can work on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division. Whatever your class needs.

Bang! I love this game as an alternative to Around the World. When your class plays Around the World, the quickest math fact recaller is the one who gets continuous practice. Your students who aren't as knowledgable of their math facts get out right away. So, if your purpose is to have ALL your students practice their math facts, it doesn't take long for your slower-to-answer students to realize that they don't have much of a chance.

Why is BANG!!! So Awesome?
Well, because it makes the playing field equal for all your students. Your slower-to-answer students have just a good a chance as your quicker students to win the game. This helps them gain confidence and not be hesitant to participate for fear of being embarrassed when they aren't successful at answering one math fact quick enough to continue.

All you need are some popsicle sticks, a basket or can to put the sticks in, and a marker to write on the popsicle sticks.

All you have to do is decide which facts you want your students to practice. Then you just write the facts on popsicle sticks, one per stick without the answer. You can create 4 different BANG!!! games, one for each operation, or you can create mixed practice. Totally up to what your students need to practice. You also have to write "BANG!!!" on some of the sticks. I usually write facts on about 50 sticks and "BANG!!!" on about 10 sticks. Once you have your sticks ready, you plop them into a basket or can that is tall enough to cover most of the sticks, and you are ready to go! All you need now are students.

How to Play
Decide how long you will let your students play. I typically give about 10 minutes, but I also let my students play this game if we have 5 minutes of transition time. The object of the game is for students to collect as many popsicle sticks as they can. Whoever has the most sticks at the end of the game is the winer.

Choose one student to begin. He/she selects a stick and I give them about 3-5 seconds to give the answer to the fact written on the stick. I give 5 seconds at the beginning of the year and shorten the time to 3 seconds. If the student answers correctly, he/she keeps the stick. If the student is incorrect, he/she returns the stick to the basket. Then you move onto the next student and repeat. Students are not directly competing against each other. It is a competition because they have to get as many sticks as they can to win, but one or two students can't monopolize the game. Now, here's the fun twist: if a student pulls out a stick that has "BANG!!!" written on it, they have to put ALL their sticks back into the basket. This really allows any student in your class to win because ANY student could draw BANG!!! and lose their sticks. Students quickly realize that anyone can win, and they are immediately hooked. My students prefer this game over Around the World any day, and I do, too. You can really write "BANG!!!" on as many sticks as you would like. Obviously the more sticks with BANG!!! the more often students have to replace their sticks.

Have you played BANG!!! before? Think you will add BANG!!! to your repertoire of games for practicing math fluency? I would love to hear your thoughts :)

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Thanks for visiting and until next time!

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  1. I love this idea you are right it is so much better than round the world where the same students get rewarded - this is going to be a must game for me especially as you can do addition, subtraction, multiplication and missing addend or a whole mix :) thank you for sharing

    1. I love how my most reluctant students get excited to play this game. It makes me so happy to watch them become engaged in something they find difficult because they know they have an equal chance to win :)

  2. I love games like these! It is easy to set up and kids love it! I have them for sight words and I will need to make a set for Math facts, too! Thank you for sharing this great idea!

    First Grade and Flip Flops

    1. I love the idea for sight words! Thanks for sharing that one! :)

  3. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing.


    1. You're welcome! :) Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thanks for the idea! Looking to create this for my 2nd grade students for next year. Will probably substitute the word GOTCHA! instead of BANG! just because my kids will associate this with a gun unfortunately, but totally Iike that this is versatile across math topics

  5. We play BANG with sight words written on them! They love it!