Roses are red, violets are blue. Math can be fun, you should try it too! Here are 5 ways to make math more fun and engaging in February. Focusing on building a growth mindset and seeing math in the real world are two ways to keep math engaging for students. Try these fun math activities for February! Check it out!

## Candy Hearts in (and out of ) the classroom:

Everybody loves candy hearts. Well actually they don't. I think if I took a poll (which I recently did on my Instagram), the majority of people actually don't like candy hearts. But we tolerate them once a year, right? And our students love the cute little sayings on them (even if lately they've said things like DM Me and Totes and I feel totally old). But anyway, these little gems can be a perfect way to make math more fun in your classroom this February. Take any of the counters that you usually use in your class (i.e. counting bears, red and yellow counters, counting beads/chips etc.) and put those away for the month. Replace them with candy hearts and children will be so excited to use candy as a math tool! You can have students use candy hearts for addition and subtraction problem solving, for making arrays and multiplication/division equal groups problem solving. You can give them more structure by putting them in a ten frame, or organizing them on graph paper in an array and more. There are also a few fun math games you can play with candy hearts!

Hidden Hearts: Have a student count out 5 or 10 candy hearts (you can also use 20 if there are 20 in the box). The student should use one-to-one counting skills to make sure they know the starting number. Next, the student closes their eyes, while you 'hide' some of the candy hearts in your hand. When the student opens their eyes, they have to figure out how many candy hearts are hidden--they do this by first figuring out how many candy hearts are remaining, and then using a strategy to figure out how many more they would need to get to the starting number. This supports counting on strategies, as well as subitizing and being able to 'just see' a number. It also helps build addition and subtraction fluency within 5 and 10! Check out this reel with audio on Instagram .

You can also play fill the cup. A fluency and counting game where children roll one dice. Then they practice counting out that number of candy hearts. Then they put the candy hearts in a cup or bowl. The goal is to see if they can fill the cup in the fewest number of rolls possible. Focusing on accuracy in counting skills is key in this game!

## Growth Mindset Month

February is a great time to focus on positive math identity. Children have already learned a lot this year, so this is a great time to show them just how much they've grown! Use a pre-survey from the beginning of the year and do a mid-year check in (either with a growth mindset survey like this free one on my TPT store, or with an assessment or fluency check in). It is a great time to help children focus on the power of YET. Helping children realize that while a certain strategy or concept in math may be challenging, and they may not understand it yet, but that they can grow their understanding is critical to them being able to build a growth mindset towards mathematics and a positive math identity!

## Black History Math

Focusing on Black History is not only important in the month of February, it is important all year long. But with their being a special emphasis on Black History during Black History Month, this is a perfect time to make cross-curricular and real-world math connections in your math class. Black history does not need to be taught in isolation. There are tons of incredible connections between the stories of Black people both past and present that have used math or connected to math in some way! Check out my Black History Math Review Projects for fourth and fifth grade. Also, these African American Mathematician Posters from Mona Math are absolutely incredible and should definitely have a place in your math classroom all year long!

## Football Math

It's Superbowl season which always gets our students hyped up! But did you know that there are a TON of connections to math in football? Here are just a few ways that you can connect football to the math classroom:

Multiplication: calculating points is a great way to practice multiplication by 6 (or 7 if you include the extra point). You could 'play' a game of football outside or inside in a modified way and calculate the amount of points! This even works for just your problem of the day, calculating points for an imaginary football game!

Fractions: The football game time is partitioned into four equal-length quarters. The football field is split evenly into 10 equal parts. There are so many visual fraction models in football!

Elapsed time: Calculating how much time has passed and how much time is left or estimating game end time is a great way to incorporate football into elapsed time problems!

## Valentine's Day Math

You know that your students are going to have a lot of excited energy for Valentine's Day (or Friendship Day or whatever your school calls it). So why not lean into the chaos by incorporating Valentine's Day into your math activities! Using my Valentine's Day Math Story Problems is an easy way to do this! These story problems are differentiated, printable and digital and aligned to the standards (Grade 2-5)! Your students will be a lot more excited to work on math story problem strategies if the story problems are focused around this exciting 'holiday!'

I hope these ideas are helpful! If you want to connect with me or have more ideas, send me an email at mathcoachconnection@gmail.com or join my email list with the form at the bottom of the page!

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