# Try This Reward If You Have No Funds…

Last week we held a final championship for students in second through fifth grades for the classes’ highest percentage of correct answers during “Math Wars”. “Math Wars” is our affectionate name for math fact races. Surprisingly the underdogs (second graders) won the final championship while a fifth grade class had been winning all year. So, of course as second graders are, they were so EXCITED that they had won– as was their teacher. Since I didn’t have any funding for anything extra special, I, we’ll say ‘renovated’ an old trophy, which I found gathering dust. I cleaned it up a bit and made a new plaque for it as you can see below. I also handed out a golden abacus to each grade level winner. The golden abacuses were awarded and switched among classes all year after each “Math War”. Pictured below are all of the awards. I hope they give you some ideas.

For the math timed tests I used for math wars, click here.

For an example of how a teacher kept up with her own math races to prepare for math wars, click here.

For more about the math fact races, click here.

i am really interested in finding out about the “math wars” that you talked about in your may 2012 blog. would it be possible to get the details about it from you so maybe our school can implement something like it to help our kids? thanks for your time.

Of course! I started out the previous year giving students timed tests individually, but it resulted in a lot of students’ tears and frustration because in order to pass I told students that they must miss 3 or less questions. I gave students 2 seconds per problem. In order to avoid insanity, I didn’t repeat the same blunder over again. So, last year I posed classes against classes so that each student wouldn’t feel so defeated if they missed some. Each grade level raced against its own grade level until the spring when I let classes challenge whatever class they wanted to. For the final race, I found the overall winner out of 2nd – 5th grades. I told teachers to practice the same test that we would use on math wars race days, and to celebrate students who improved at all on each test. The most successful teacher did this daily, and I took a picture of the chart where she kept up with students’ scores. She wrote the students’ scores on the chart so that she and her students could easily see who improved. Her class showed the most growth out of all the classes. I am going to edit the original post and place the links to the tests and to the other post from the teacher’s chart. The amount of problems for each test are different, so you have to multiply the amount of problems times 2 seconds to get the amount of time to use. When students finish their math wars test, I add up all of the ones that they got CORRECT (to avoid tears) and take the class average of the number correct to find the winner. When I am having classes from different grade levels against each other, I find the average percentage number correct to find the winner. A week or so before the test, I place posters all over the walls to motivate and put a spirit of competition among classes.