Three Differentiated Math Centers for Kindergarten

Differentiated Math Centers for Kindergarten

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Friends, I have a secret to admit to you. When it first came to creating differentiated math centers for my students as a new teacher, I was SO LOST! I knew my students needed differentiated math activities that fit their needs, but I wasn't sure how to provide them what they needed without making each lesson, plan, and center something unique. And that took up so much TIME.  

I finally realized I could take the same concept or skill, design a lesson and activity around it, and then create differentiated math centers that utilized the same activity, but tailored it to the level my students needed to be successful.

A simple way to make differentiated math centers for kindergarten, early elementary, and special education students is with graphic organizers or "math mats" as I call them. And I've gathered a few of my favorites to share with you!

1.  Roll It, Make It, Find It, Write It

Materials needed: differentiated roll it mats (laminated or in a plastic sleeve), two dice, manipulatives (I like to use mini erasers from Target), and a dry erase marker


In this differentiated math center, students will either work on the roll it mat for addition (two dice, adding numbers together) or the single digit roll it mat. In the "Roll It" box(es), student will roll their die/dice in the boxes and count the dots on each die.

In the "Make It" boxes, students will use manipulatives to show the number. If there were five dots on the die, they will count out five manipulatives. This helps students work not only on counting what is already there, but being able to represent a number as a value. 

In the "Find It" box, students will circle the number that was rolled on the die, or if they are using the addition version, they will find the total number. They will circle the number that represents the value they counted or added together. 

Finally, the "Write It" box is where the students will practice writing by writing the number on the lines provided. 

Students can erase the laminated page and roll again, or if you need to collect a work sample, you could have them complete a non-laminated paper with pencil. 

Differentiated Math Centers for Kindergarten

Materials needed: "How Many" mat (printed and laminated), small containers or ziploc bags, assortment of small items in varying quantities (linking cubes are great for this.), dry erase marker

Directions: Before students can participate in this differentiated math center, you will need to prepare the counting collections. In each of the small containers, place an assortment of small items in varying quantities. THIS IS YOUR DIFFERENTIATION. Keep some containers with quantities of five and under, five to ten, and ten to twenty or more for students who are ready for a challenge. You can color code your containers or label your containers to tell them apart quickly.

Students will take a container of the small items and place the pieces into the large box on the mat. After counting the items, they will write the number they counted on the lines provided. 

Students can erase the laminated page for a new collection, or you can have them complete it on paper and turn it in. 

3. Part-Part-Whole

Materials needed: Differentiated Part-Part-Whole mats (printed and laminated), dry erase marker, manipulatives (mini erasers, etc.), differentiated single digit addition cards (printed, laminated, and cut apart)

Directions: Students will use the blank "part part whole" mat or the mat with writing lines. Students will choose a single digit addition card and use manipulatives to demonstrate the values the numbers represent. One digit in one part, one in the other, and then add them together to make the whole. You can also choose between two sets of cards: addition to ten or to twenty.

If desired, you can print an extra page of single addition cards for students to use an a recording sheet to record their answers for this differentiated math center. 

I hope this post has shown you how you can take the same activity and change it ever-so-slightly to make differentiated math centers to meet your students' needs. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below or reach out to me on my Instagram page. And let me know what topics you'd like to see covered in the future!

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