Multiplying and dividing integers doesn’t seem like such a difficult topic, but for some students they can’t seem to keep it straight. Sometimes, it feels like they get it wrong every time (hooray for consistency, I guess?!). We use a couple of different strategies at my school, and we try to work with our 7th graders until they get it. Lucky for us, we have many opportunities to teach this and then reinforce it throughout the year. I’ve put together 12 multiplying and dividing integers activities that are perfect for teaching students, getting them the practice they need, and then reviewing their skills.
My personal philosophy is that students need to have a reference to refer back to and that they need to refer to it every time until they don’t need it anymore. That window of needing this kind of scaffolding is different for every student. For some it’s a day or two, and for others it can be weeks or months. It has to really “click” in students’ minds. In this list of activities we share two different references that you can put in students’ interactive notebooks. They’re both graphic organizers that the student can easily recreate which make them especially beneficial. But in the end, students just need a lot of practice, so most of the activities below focus on providing them opportunities to practice multiplying and dividing integers.
The list of multiplying & dividing integers activities:
Let’s dive in
This list has a wide variety of activity and game types. Some are activities that students will complete independently while others are for the whole class. You’ll find things that work at the beginning, in the middle, or to add closure to a lesson. Take a look at them and find what’s just right for your classroom.
Mazes have so many amazing characteristics. They are no prep, the students love them, and they work as the perfect way to get students working as they walk in the classroom. My kids pick up their maze at the door and start working when the bell rings. I take attendance and then I walk around the room and check their mazes. This let’s me see really easily where kids are struggling. Then, I’m able to review the misconceptions that I see throughout the class.
This set of 3 mazes starts with a multiplying integers maze, then has a dividing integers maze, and finally, it ends with a maze that has multiplying and dividing integers. These mazes work great for reinforcement when you’re teaching the topic and as cyclical review later. If you wait a few months, you can even use the same mazes again (seriously! I’ve tested this extensively in my classroom).
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If you’re not using them already, mazes are a great break from the traditional worksheets. They’re a simple swap that makes a big impact.
In this BINGO game students practice solving basic multiplying and dividing integers problems. They love that it’s a game and they get really into it, especially if you offer a prize. Right now I’m giving away slime as a prize. I loved slime when I was kid and now I get to give it away (of course, I tell them that if this causes a problem in another classroom, I’ll deny I had anything to do with it!) Playing games like BINGO, students improve their skills multiplying and dividing integers because they get a lot of repetitions in such a short about of time. This game is also perfect as a sponge activity anytime during the year.
You can find all of the instructions and the download for this free printable game by clicking this link. This game includes a game board and a positive and negative dice cube. Students have the opportunity to roll the dice and complete multiplication problems. Kids love playing games like this, and they don’t even realize how much math they’re practicing. When playing, the players move forward when their answer is positive and backward if their answer is negative. They’ll get a lot of practice determining if their answer is positive or negative, and they’ll have some fun at the same time.
I love using task cards in my classroom because you can use them in so many different ways. Usually, I have students complete task cards with a partner on the 3rd or 4th day of a unit. Sometimes, I have them play scoot, or I keep the task cards as questions that I can use with the whole class.
This set of multiplying integers task cards will help students practice multiplying integers in a couple of ways. There are some basic problems. In addition, the sets includes some story problems where the students have to set-up the expression that goes with the story. After all, in 7th grade everything goes back to solving and applying concepts in a real world context. These task cards are great for getting students’ feet wet with this skill.
Going along with the multiplying integers task cards, there’s a matching set of task cards for practicing dividing integers. Students get the opportunity to practice dividing integers with the division sign as well as in a fraction form. Also, they get to answer questions about when answers of division problems will be fractions or integers. Many students struggle to realize that a division problem can have a fraction answer, so that’s emphasized in these task cards.
Sometimes students just need to practice identifying if the answer is going to be negative or positive. That’s where this pocket comes into play. It’s simple and the practice is very clean. Students don’t even have to be good at multiplying to get good practice. They just have to identify if the answer will be positive or negative. Also, it works again and again because it’s stored in a little pocket. This is great practice especially for students who need more support with math skills.
Students see a problem and then identify if it has a positive or negative answer. The answer is on the back of the card for immediate self-correction, and then students sort the cards into the positive or negative pocket. You can bump up the excitement, and competition, by letting students time themselves and see if they can beat their own best time.
This game will get kids to practice multiplying and dividing integers. I love that it looks like a video game and there’s an adrenaline rush from trying to beat the game. Students have to answer multiple choice questions while they’re racing other spaceships. The look of this game is pretty basic, but students can get a lot of repetitions in a short amount of time. Usually, I combine this with another online game and use it as an anticipatory set or for fast finishers. I set these games up on Google classroom by having one assignment with all of the game links.
To play the flyswatter game, all you need to get are some (unused) flyswatters before you plan on playing. This post has excellent directions on how to play the flyswatter game to practice with operations. I’ve also linked to this worksheet with a whole bunch of problems that you can use when playing.
Basically, in the flyswatter game students race against each other to hit the correct answer with a flyswatter. One reason this game works well is because students get up out of their seats to play this game.
One of my colleagues introduced me to this method of remembering the rules for multiplying and dividing integers, or rational numbers in general. She draws a triangle, puts a plus sign in the top angle, and puts two minus signs in the other angles. When you have a problem you cover up the symbols present in the problem, and the symbol that is left will be the symbol of the answer. You can see how this works in the examples below.
You can grab your own copy of this magic triangle for FREE by clicking here. It’s a great addition to the interactive notebook, and is a great reference for students to be able to look back at throughout the year.
This video on Teacher Tube does a good job of showing a different strategy for multiplying and dividing integers than the magic triangle. The teacher shows her method which includes two faces. Sometimes, students need a graphic organizer or something visual to cement the idea in their head. This video offers a different way for remembering how to deal with positive and negative integers. We use this with our math lab classes. The teacher shows the video and stops along the way. It gives students a chance to slow down what they are doing. They don’t have to complete a whole bunch of problems, but rather they get a chance to methodically work through a few problems.
Kids will love Fruit Splat, a fun online game. It has three levels and students can choose the speed of their game. Once the game starts the player has to find the fruit that has the correct answer to the problem, and splat it. It makes a cool splatting noise when you get it right. The fruit float around the screen. This game is great to let students play a few times during a unit, or as a review throughout the year.
This Kahoot game for multiplying and dividing integers includes 15 questions. A couple of them ask whether the answer would end up with a positive or negative answer. The rest of the questions are multiplying and dividing integers. Kahoot is a whole class game. The teacher projects the questions on the screen at the front of the room. Students use a phone, tablet, or computer to answer questions. They love the game because they get points for accuracy and speed. It can get a little competitive, so you may want to address that before you start the game.
Quizizz is an online quiz for students to take. Also, it can be a game between students in your class. It works as a bell ringer, practice during class, a quick check, or even as homework. This particular Quizizz assignment includes a series of 12 questions. Once your create your own account (it’s free to sign up) you can modify the assignment to fit your specific needs. You could break it into two Quizizz games, or you can add more questions to it if you like. One tip with Quizizz games- I prefer to assign them in “homework mode” so students can work on it at different times. I also sometimes turn off the timer feature so students don’t get extra points for being faster. If I see students just rushing to finish, I definitely make sure to turn that off for the next time we play a Quizizz game.
Try one thing..
Keep in mind that students need a lot of repetition with a skill like multiplying and dividing integers. You can’t really practice it too much. Try one of the activities above and give students the practice that they need. You can mix these activities together as practice during the unit when you teach it as well as using these activities as cyclical review. Try one of them today and let us know how it went in the comments below. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time!
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