War: Each group of students-usually 2 or 3-receive one set of playing cards. The cards can be used to play War with multiplication, addition and subtraction. We give a point value of 10 to all face cards and 11 to the ace. All other cards are worth the number written on the card. The cards are passed out until they are all gone. The pile is left upside down. The players all turn over their first two cards and do the proper action, for example, multiplication. The player with the highest answer gets all of the cards. In the case of a tie, the two players in the tie go again. Again, the winner gets all of the cards. The winner ends up with all of the cards.
PEMDAS is so important that I begin teaching it very early. As a result, on some Fridays, I give everyone a white board and marker (plus a tissue) and then I place two different problems on the board. The younger students have a simple question that requires them to use the correct order of operations to solve it. The older students get problems that, while still using order of operations, are much more difficult. The kids rush to see who can get it correct first. They hold up their boards for me to check and head right back to work if they are wrong.
MathDiceTournament: This is a fun game that I bought at Barnes and Noble while visiting in Colorado. (I think all teachers look for things for their classroom no matter where they are!) Anyway, this is a dice game. The players roll the two 12-sided dice and multiply them to get a number. Then they roll the regular dice. The students try to combine the dice, using PEMDAS, to get an answer that is closest to the answer of the 12-sided dice.It is fast paced, fun and...it can be used as a tournament game right in your classroom.