5 Engaging Middle School Math Activities

These five engaging middle school math activities are adaptable to most any topic! Students will be moving around and talking about math. Go ahead, and read on!

1. Scavenger Hunt

I LOVE scavenger hunts! They are super versatile and they get kiddos moving around the room.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Gather fifteen pieces of paper and number them 1-15 for fifteen stations.
  2. Choose fifteen review problems based on what your students learned last year.
  3. Write the first problem on the “#1” station, and then write the answer in bold on another piece of paper (say, the “#4” station).
  4. Write the next problem on the same #4 piece of paper and write the answer elsewhere.
  5. Continue until all papers have been used.
  6. Hang them in order around your room.


Lastly, split your class into pairs and assign them each to a first station. Partners will complete problems and “hunt” for the next question by finding where their answer is around the room!

Below is an example from a scavenger hunt activity I created on writing numbers in scientific notation.

example of a math classroom scavenger hunt activity for writing numbers in scientific notation

SCAVENGER HUNT TIPS:
– I usually create enough stations so that I can split students into pairs, although you can have more to a group
– You may want to consider timed stations so that students do not get crowded at any one station

Resources you may like:

button to view the converting terminating and repeating decimals into fractions scavenger hunt activity
button to view the an introduction to functions scavenger hunt activity for 7th grade or 8th grade

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2. Partner Match

I’ve found that students REALLY get into this one. Students will work in partners to complete DIFFERENT PROBLEMS that have the SAME ANSWER. I love this one because it is self-checking! If students arrive at a different answer, they must work with one another to find and correct the mistake. Depending on the content, 10-15 pairs of questions is usually enough.

Below is an example of one I made for solving two-step equations.

example of a partner match activity for solving two step equations in the math classroom

Resources you may like:

button to view the multiplying and dividing expressions in scientific notation partner match activity
button to view the solving two step equations partner match activity for 8th grade
button to view the writing linear equations in slope intercept form partner match activity for 8th grade math
This one is FREE!

3. Riddle

Here is one to let your inner geek out. I like to find the cheesiest math riddles for these! First, you will want one problem for every letter in the answer. So, if the riddle is “What did the triangle say to the circle?” and the answer is “You’re so pointless”, you will need 16 problems. The answer to each problem will correspond to a letter. Students will work in groups to figure this one out!

Below is an example pulled from a lesson I created on checking solutions of equations. The top paper is the student’s recording sheet. The bottom shows an example of one of the stations.

example of a partner match activity for solving two step equations in the math classroom

RIDDLE TIPS:
– If they are harder problems, such as word problems, you can create this so that each problem corresponds with one word in the answer

Resources you may like:

button to view the identifying proportional relationships from functions riddle activity for middle school
ordering real numbers riddle activity for 8th grade
button to view the adding and subtracting expressions in scientific notation riddle activity for middle school
button to view the finding the solutions of equations when given a value for x riddle activity for 8th grade

4. Gallery Walk

Out of the five activities mentioned, this one involves the least amount of prep. Honestly, if you have a good math worksheet, you can cut it up and use it for this one.

Here’s How It Works:

  1. Hang 10-15 math problems around the room.
  2. Split students into groups of 2-3 to walk around your room completing them (just as if they were walking around looking at works of art!).
  3. Set a timer for 2-3 minutes so students know when to rotate!

Below is an example from a gallery walk activity I created on the properties of exponents.

example of a properties of exponents activity in the math classroom

Resources you may like:

button to view the solving equations with variables on both sides gallery walk activity for 8th grade
button to view the properties of exponents gallery walk activity including the product rule, quotient rule, and power of a product rule
button to view the comparing functions that are proportional relationships displayed as tables, graphs, and equations gallery walk activity

5. Escape Room

My new favorite activity is definitely an escape room! Students will find and solve a variety of “clues” to help them “escape” the room. Out of the activities listed here, this one has the most prep.

Here are steps to help you out:

  1. Determine the content of your escape room.
  2. Come up with a storyline. Why do students need to “escape”? (check out this introductory video for my two-step equations escape room)
  3. Create a set of “clues” that will lead to an “ultimate challenge.” This challenge will be the one they need to solve in order to escape.
  4. Create the “ultimate challenge.” This can be fun! It can be based off of the clues that were found or a completely different riddle. For the escape room I recently created, I made a dance the kids had to learn and perform for the teacher!


All of this said, the possibilities for escape rooms are virtually endless. If you try to make your own, START SIMPLE! It is easy to get drawn into a super complex puzzle, but it doesn’t have to be complex to engage your students!

Below is an outline of how I set up my escape room for a lesson on solving real-world problems using two-step equations.

example of an escape room activity  to help students practice solving real world problems using two step equations

Resources you may like:

button to view the solving real world problems using two step equations escape room activity for 8th grade

There are so many engaging middle school math activities out there, but these are five of my favorite!

What other math activities are popular in your classroom? Post in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “5 Engaging Middle School Math Activities”

  1. Thank you for sharing this! I am planning to do math workshop this year and need to make activities for my. centers (grade 7). I’m not terribly tech savvy, nor do I want my students doing a lot of work on their devices throughout the day. I am familiar with many of these, and I try to find them free on TpT because I’m paying out of my pocket.

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