3rd grade math games for 3rd grade common core math that can be used for math centers

Engagement and rigor are two words that describe my teaching philosophy. I get bored easily from doing the same things year after year, so I’m always looking for ways to add more engagement in my classroom, while keeping up with the rigor of the standards. I love incorporating math games into my daily math routine…but after using the same math centers and math games YEAR AFTER YEAR, I knew I needed to shake it up a bit and do something different..for my sake AND for the kid’s sake! That’s when I came up with this twist on math games for my 3rd grade classroom.

3rd Grade Math games and math puzzles are great ways for students to work on 3rd grade math concepts through hands-on activities, specifically, through my favorite type of activity, MATH PUZZLES. 

In this post, you’ll find examples of 3rd grade math puzzles that incorporate spiral math review of all 3rd grade common core math skills, along with social studies and science content integration.

If you’re a 2nd grade teacher, you can find the 2nd Grade blog post here.

3rd Grade Common Core Math

3rd Grade Math Games that Integrate Other Content Areas

Okay let’s be real…there’s never enough time to teach everything that needs to be taught, especially for everything that’s required of us nowadays. I’m always looking for ways to integrate science and social studies into MATH and ELA..like many other teachers! We barely have enough time during the day to fit all the 1.3487 thousand things we have to teach, so when we can tie in a little social studies or science into our math lessons, we’re gonna do it! Am I right?!!

Multiplication Facts from the Multiplication Unlock the Fact Unit

Spiral Math Review Games

I’m so excited to share this resource with you! This idea came to me in the middle of the night, as all of our best teaching ideas do, and I’ve been creating several monthly spiral math review units for it! I call it –UNLOCK THE FACT. I created a 2nd grade version and a 3rd grade version. I’ve loved using these hands-on math games during my Guided Math rotations. My students have been excited about revealing new facts during math stations!

Math Games Align with 3rd Grade Common Core

The math skills included in the units are all aligned to the common core. The common core standards are placed in the upper left corner of each puzzle. This allows teachers and admin to easily identify the skills and standards. This is the perfect “proof” that answers the question…”Are you teaching the standards?” “Why yes…yes I am.” 🙂

Self-Correcting Math Puzzles

One of my favorite things about these puzzles is that they are self-correcting. #AllTheHalleluiahHands

Students will have to determine if the fact revealed makes sense and sounds right! See what I did there…integrating a bit of reading for meaning & comprehension. If the fact DOES NOT make sense, look right, or sound right, the students will remove the puzzle strips that look out of place and solve the problem again.


Another teacher said, “My students love doing these for test review and reading the message when it is done. I also love how they are self-checking-if it makes sense, you are correct! Thank you for a fun, unique product.”


Due to the puzzles being self-correcting, this means I’m able to meet with my guided math groups while the other students in the room are engaged and working quietly during their math games or math stations rotation.

How Do These Math Games Work?

First, students answer the math problems or math facts on the cards. Next, they put the puzzle together by ordering the answers from least to greatest. If done correctly, an INTERESTING FACT is revealed!

Here’s a short video from my Instagram stories where I talk about and show you examples from the 3rd grade March edition or go ahead and keep scrolling to see step by step images on how this works.

Step 1: Print the Math Puzzles

The prep for this resource is super low, which is one thing I love about it! And once it’s fully prepped, you’ll be able to use it year after year.

First, print the puzzles on colored paper or cardstock. I use astrobrights colored paper.

3rd-grade-math-games-for-3rd-grade-common-core-math stations
3rd-grade-math-games-for-3rd-grade-common-core-math stations
3rd-grade-math-games-for-3rd-grade-common-core-math stations
3rd-grade-math-games-for-3rd-grade-common-core-math stations

In this next step, I place each puzzle in a basket along with a dry erase marker. These baskets are wonderful and they were super cheap. I bought them from the Dollar Tree…3 baskets came in one set. I think I purchased 7 sets, for a total of 21 baskets! Such a good deal, right?!!


Step 6: Answering the Math Problems

Here’s where the student work begins. The students answer all 9 questions in random order. Using a thin dry erase marker, students will write the answer in the rectangular or square box. Below is an example from my 3rd Grade Camping Themed Activities Unit.


Step 7: Arrange the Strips in Order

After your students have answered all 9 questions, next they will put the puzzle strips in order from LEAST to GREATEST. If they have answered the problems correctly, and have placed the numbers in order correctly, an INTERESTING FACT will be revealed!

I LOVE being able to tie in so many skills at once! {solving the spiral math problems on the card PLUS ordering the numbers from least to greatest.

BAM. Two math skills in one.


Accountability for Math Puzzles

Next, I hold my students ACCOUNTABLE for everything so I have them record their answers on the recording sheet. I don’t grade these because I already have 2.1 million papers to grade, instead, I have my students check their answers using the answer keys provided in the file.


Final Step: Write the Fact {Optional}

Printable Cut and Paste Option

There’s also a printable cut and paste option included in the bundle as well! I like to use both the laminated math centers option and the printable option in my classroom. It’s nice to switch it up sometimes! Some teachers use the printable version for morning work, math warm-ups, for a sub, and even for homework.


More Examples from 3rd Grade Units

Multiplication Word Problems from the Multiplication Unlock the Fact
3rd grade math unlock the fact math puzzles
Practicing Quadrilaterals from the April Unlock the Fact Unit
Practicing Perimeter from the April Unlock the Fact Unit
Fractions Word Problems from the April Unlock the Fact Unit

Purchasing 3rd Grade Math Games/Puzzles

I hope you enjoy this twist on 3rd grade math games. It’s something different to incorporate into your classroom to shake it up a bit and engage your students even more! If you’re interesting, you can purchase the 2nd or 3rd grade bundle below.

Click here to purchase 3rd Grade.

Click here to purchase 2nd Grade.

2nd grade math games





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