As the school year comes to an end, many teachers and tutors are looking for fun and engaging, but still educational, projects that reinforce math skills. Here are some open ended creative math project options for the end of the year. These are appropriate for any elementary or middle school grade.
All links rechecked 5/17/22
Research famous mathematicians
Go to Famous Mathematicians for a list of suggestions of mathematicians kids will be interested in. NRICH (from the University of Cambridge) offers a variety of child friendly articles on many mathematicians. At the NCES website older students can even find a free online quiz to identify which mathematician might interest them.
Also see my post Picture Books About Mathematicians for fantastic books to inspire students.
I let my students present their research in whatever form they want. I have had students choose to dress up as their person, make a poster, make a diorama, make a puppet show, write a skit and have other students participate and make Powerpoint presentations. You could of course choose just one to have all students do.
If you want to teach your whole class about a famous mathematician, I have a post specifically on teaching Fibonacci.
Create math board games
Students can work individually, with a partner, or with a small group to create their own board game. I have done this with many students and they LOVE making the games and playing each others. Some teachers are very specific in requirements; I generally prefer to be more open ended to encourage creativity. I like to have students choose the topic that their game will practice and write questions first, so I can make sure the content is there, but then give them a lot of freedom in the design of their game. Generally I provide posterboard, markers, index cards, dice, and blank spinners. I do have them write the “official game rules” also.
Miss Buckingham offers a free TPT download of student brainstorming sheet, instructions, and objectives designed for 4th-6th grade.
Write a math book to teach others what they have learned
My students have written poetry about math concepts, made ABC books, written math stories or math mysteries, and even made math comic books. A great book to read for inspiration of a math story is The Greedy Triangle.
Here is an article called Be a Math Storybook Author describing how one teacher did this as a writing/art/math project. It also has links to samples of her students’ books.
Make math posters
Each group or set of partners is assigned a math concept and makes a creative poster to show everything they know about their topic.
Free student instructions for My Favorite Number Project for older students (includes factors, multiples, prime factorization)
Plan a lesson for the grade below
Students could work as a small group to plan a whole class lesson for a class in the grade below, or they could each teach a concept to a younger grade buddy.
Do a creative hands on math STEM challenge
6th Grade End of Year Project Menu. (most are adaptable to other grades)
Teacher Mrs. Brody has published a menu of 8 end of year math project ideas for students to choose from, complete with free downloadable PDF instructions. Projects include drawing a math cartoon, creating a perimeter/area fun house, making a geometry map, designing a survey and then gathering and analyzing data, inventing a polygon creature, creating a coordinate grid puzzle, and adapting a recipe using proportions then cooking it.
Printable Differentiated Projects
If you need something ready to print and use, there are some low cost options on TPT. Here are a couple I would recommend.
Plan a Summer Vacation for 5th/6th grade. This download includes a booklet style printable for planning a four-day trip. Students will be required to plan their transportation needs, lodging, entertainment, and dining expenses for their vacation. It practices computation of whole numbers and decimals.
Road Trip (differentiated for grades 4–6) This package is 15 pages but they are all stand alone so you can use as few or many as you want. Skills reviewed include all operations, problem solving, following directions, place value, money, decimals, basic fractions, measurement, bar graphs, data, equation building, and more!
I hope you enjoy these creative end of year math projects and they spark some ideas for your classroom!