5280 Math Content Guide

Intro Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grades 7 and 8

Suggestions for Getting Started

  • Click on a prompt to get either (1) an enlarged pdf that you can display or copy, or (2) a page of supporting notes. I am working on writing supporting notes for every prompt, but this will take time. Feel free to request prompts that you would like me move to the top of my list!

  • Notice that Creative Math Prompts do not have directions. You and your students decide what questions to ask. Prompts that have supporting notes will give you some ideas, but don’t be afraid to explore the prompts that don’t have notes yet!

  • Watch for prompts that make connections across topics. They appear in more than one content category.

  • Explore beyond your grade level. Depending on your students and your curriculum, prompts from one or even two grades before or after the grade you teach may sometimes work better than the ones listed here! Also, the prompts are very open-ended, so you may be able to continue using prompts that have already been used by teachers at earlier grade levels!

  • Read about Using Creative Math Prompts.

  • Contact me if you have a new idea for a Creative Math Prompt, especially for the few content areas that lack one. I will give you credit!



Place Value

grouping by tens and hundreds; computation strategies (for example, adding 9 by calculating “number + 10 – 1” or “number – 1 + 10”; representations (number grids, base-ten blocks, numerals); extend to ten-thousands; tenths and hundredths with coins


meanings, representations, and models; number stories; strategies and algorithms; properties; doubles; three or more addends

Note: The rightmost prompt also appears in Grade 1. There are plenty of new ideas for Grade 2 (or even Grade 3) students to explore!


meanings and representations (take away, comparison) and models; number stories; strategies and algorithms (including place value based methods such as trade-first), properties; making change

Addition-Subtraction connections

fact families; missing-addend subtraction, properties; stories (including dollars and cents)

Algebra and Patterns

visual patterns; counting patterns; doubles and halves; complements of 10; even-odd patterns; properties of numbers and operations; equivalent names for numbers; rules


points and lines; parallelism; polygons and attributes; symmetry



tell time; elapsed time; non-standard linear measures; measure with rulers (inches and half-inches); begin to explore perimeter and area


Halves, thirds, and fourths (as words); parts of one whole; begin to explore equivalent fractions