Fun Math Ideas with Paper Clips

Great ideas for using paper clips to teach basic math skills like number sense, skip counting, estimation, patterns, sorting, graphing, addition and subtraction

There are so many fun ways you can use colored paper clips to teach basic math skills.

I like to use them to teach skills like number sense, skip counting, estimation, sorting, graphing, patterns and basic operations. You can use them just like you use a lot of your other math manipulatives on a daily basis. What I like most about them is that they can link together. They also make great manipulatives for many of the activities in my seasonal math packs.

Here is a list of some of the ways I like to use colored paper clips with my students during math time.


Paper Clip Math Ideas

  • Number Sense: Count out the correct number of clips to match numbers on flashcards, or use them as manipulatives for ten frames. Or, to practice fine motor skills at the same time, students can link them together to match the number on the cards.
  • Skip Counting: Count a large number of clips by putting them in groups of 5s or 10s and then skip counting to find the total.
  • Estimation: Fill a jar with clips. Ask students to estimate how many they think are in the jar. Then count them together as a whole class.
  • Sorting: Give students a bag of clips and have them sort them based on color or size into cups, small bowls, or muffin tins.
  • Graphing: After sorting the clips by color or size, graph the results. Another fun way to incorporate graphing is to have students survey their friends to see which color clip is their favorite. Then graph the results of the survey.
  • Patterns: Link the clips together to make AB, ABB, or ABC patterns. To extend this activity, let kids create their own type of pattern and explain the rule to the class or their small groups.
  • Basic Operations: Use the clips as counters for simple addition or subtraction problems. Or divide up a large number of clips to count collaboratively in small groups and then add up the total.

What other ways do you like to use paperclips during math time?

♥ Nicole

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