Creativity Lesson: Brain Breaks

*This lesson coincides with Break time from A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech.

Suggested Books (paid link)

Lesson written by: Jana Raab & Patricia Valdespino

Grade level range: 2-7 

Length of time to teach lesson: 5 minute brain breaks

Summary of lesson:  Number sense activities that reinforce math concepts and vocabulary.  These are quick brain breaks.  Students do mental math and exercise their brains.

Objectives (Learning targets) of this lesson:  Students will find the mystery number/target number using mental math, math vocabulary and perseverance strategies.  Students will also be challenged to create their own puzzle using math vocabulary and concepts learned for their classmates to solve. 

What resources/supplies/handouts are needed to teach this lesson:  Hundreds Chart, Target Number Circle Map, Mystery Number Puzzles, Rubric for Assessment

Step-by-step teaching instructions:  

Mystery Number Puzzles/Mental Math Puzzles

Give students a hundreds chart (optional).
Read the clues aloud.
Student will do mental math to find the mystery number.

Student Mystery Number Puzzles

Give each student a blank mystery number card.
The student has to generate steps and directions to lead their classmates to a number.  Students must use key vocabulary in their clues.
Students share aloud to the class while their classmates solve.
Discuss if the clues were correct and lead them to the number they were thinking of.  If it is a good puzzle, add to your Mystery Number Ring.

Target Number

Choose a number.
Students generate as many different ways they can to make that number.  Students can use any strategies or concepts they know. Examples: multiply, divide, add, subtract, money, word problems, etc…
Assessment:  Ask students to rate one another’s work using the rubric.

Book Cover

Help Wanted on
Mont Vernon
This book combines history
and mathematics with
adorable characters to teach
kids about the many talents
of the first U.S. President.

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The UnderAchievers:
Woven into a fun story, this
book provides excellent
math lessons for kids.  

Writing Across the Curriculum:
The NumberFix Project


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 Wacky We-Search Reports:
A popular book on writing
across the curriculum.