Hands-Up Math

Hands-Up Math lesson plan

What do those symbols mean? How are they used? Dig into math operations with these colorful learning tools!

  • 1.

    Students choose a numeral from 0 to 9 or a math symbol such as the plus, minus, multiplication, division, or equal sign. They may need several of each numeral.

  • 2.

    Using a Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencil on oaktag or poster board, sketch the numeral or symbol large enough to fill the paper.

  • 3.

    Fill the numeral or symbol with various patterns and designs using colored pencils and Crayola Washable Markers.

  • 4.

    Cut out the Hands-Up Math pieces with Crayola Scissors.

  • 5.

    For extra strength, cover the numerals and signs in clear plastic adhesive.

  • 6.

    Use Hands-Up Math to solve problems, demonstrate math concepts, and keep score when playing games.


  • LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • MATH: Solve problems involving the four operations, and identify and explain patterns in arithmetic.
  • VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Sparrows Singing: Discovering Addition and Subtraction by Megan Atwood; The Good Neighbors Store an Award; A Cheesy Mouse Tale of Addition with Regrouping by Matt Ramsay; The Penny Pot by Stuart J. Murphy;
  • Students work in small groups to compose original math word problems involving one or more of the four algorithms. Students write their problems on construction paper and accompany each with an illustration. On the back of the construction paper, students provide a solution to their problem. Groups swap problems and solve! Use original "Hand-Up Math" digits to prove their solution is accurate.