20+ Ideas for Teaching with Math Task Cards

20+ ideas for teaching with math task cards

Task cards are everywhere you look because teachers are falling in love with this method of practice! Check out this post for information about WHY to use task cards, HOW to use task cards, and RESOURCES for task cards.

Task cards are less overwhelming than worksheets because students focus on one problem at a time.  This is helpful for all students, but especially those with attention difficulties.  With worksheets, sometimes I find students having a hard time getting started because the task seems so daunting, but with task cards it is much easier to focus on completing ONE problem… then another, then another.

Task cards can allow for movement as students change stations or walk to retrieve another card.  Movement is so important to incorporate into classes whenever possible.  Think about how much time your students spend sitting throughout the day.  They need opportunities to stand up and move to a different spot in order to wake up the brain!

20+ ideas for teaching with math task cards

Task cards can provide a variety of practice on one topic or several review topics.  They are so versatile!  Sometimes I use sets of task cards with a huge variety of topics to review for state or final exams.  Other times I focus on one topic for more repetition as students are learning a new skill.  The possibilities are endless!

Task cards can be reused again and again because students write in workspaces or a separate piece of paper.  Print on cardstock and laminate so they can stand the test of time and be used again.  You can purchase index card organizers to store them if you have the space.  Little to no prep after year one!

Students enjoy using task cards and show greater engagement than when completing a regular worksheet.  Perhaps the best reason of all… kids love them!  It’s literally a worksheet separated out onto small cards, but many students feel like it is a game.  My middle schoolers love task card days.  J

My favorite way to use task cards is to leave them in a bin at the front of the room.  Each student begins with one.  They complete the problem in their workspace, then return to the bin to compare their answer with the answer key.  If they are correct, they trade for a new card.  If they are incorrect, they return to their seat to determine their mistake.

Set up 5 or 6 stations around the room with a handful of cards at each.  I project a timer on the front whiteboard and have all students move to the next station at the same time.  Here’s my typical station schedule:
2 minutes: Focus silently and get started.
2 minutes: Collaborate with peers in your group.
1 minute: Check answers and wrap up.
I give my students verbal instructions when it’s time to collaborate and check answers.  During this time I walk around, help students get started if needed, answer questions, etc.

Place each card at a different location around the room and have students move around to complete them all.  They could be taped to walls with students using clipboards or set on desks so students can sit.  Switch it up and see what your students respond better to!

20+ ideas for teaching with math task cards

Give each student a different card to complete as a Problem of the Day or Exit Ticket.  Have students trade with others so they complete 3-5 problems.  This version is for quick checks that only need 5 minutes or so.  Students stay in their seats but get some quick practice.

Project some cards on the front board to discuss as a whole class.  This strategy could make a good opener before sending students off to practice on their own.  This method is also great for reteaching a concept or having students record some examples into a notebook.

Print out and use them as worksheets or a packet.  Of course there’s the traditional practice packet that works well, too!  In this case, students could write directly on the pages as there should be plenty of space to write.


Learning Made Radical: Ideas on Using Task Cards

Looking for some ready-made resources?  I have FREE set of task cards for reviewing functions on my blog.  My full collection of task cards can be found here.

Smith Curriculum and Consulting put a new spin on using task cards in the classroom with her product: Left, Right, Answer!  Learn more here.

Scaffolded Math & Science offers a free set of Domain and Range Intervention Task Cards.  Scoop them up here.

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