Ideas for Adding and Subtracting Decimal Centers

If you want to spiral content for your elementary students, decimal centers are the way to go! Centers are my go-to instructional tool because they let students take charge of their learning, provide students with a variety of practice, and allows me time to meet with students. If you want to learn how I use these in my Guided Math lessons, check out this blog post here!

Adding & Subtracting Decimals

How to Use Math Centers

In order to have successful decimal centers, you want to make sure a few things are in place. 

  1. Be clear on expectations. This not only means showing and explaining how to behave during stations, but also modeling for students what a specific station for the day looks like.
  2. Be prepared. Make sure you have all of the materials needed for a station ready to go, right down to the pencils. I suggest gathering materials in a bag or box..
  3. Use a timer. Whether your stations are long or short, display a timer in the room, so students can see the time remaining. 
  4. Decide how to manage centers. Try out different forms of non-verbal signals that help students know they are not meeting expectations, such as a noise meter.

Now that you know how to set-up and manage your centers, here are some ideas to get you started with decimal centers!

Math Games
Math Games

Ideas for Adding Decimal Centers

Math Games

This one is always a big hit with my students. I often create math puzzles for my students center activities. Essentially, you want students to match together different elements. This might be a visual to a problem, an answer to an equation, or creating an equation using the puzzle pieces.

I created some math games that review other math topics, along with adding decimals. There is a Christmas game and a Groundhog Day game. Each comes with five puzzles!

Notebook Sorts

Notebook Sorts
Notebook Sorts

Sorts are one of my favorite centers activities because it doubles as practice and a reference guide. They are essentially a chart that students glue into their notebook. On this chart, students add key information from the “sorts” or slips of paper. This might be a definition, answer, or visual.

In my adding decimals notebook sort, students will work out various adding decimals equations and word problems. They will then select the correct sort to glue into their chart based on their answer.

Digital Practice with Google Slides

One easy way to plan centers (that includes a lot less prep for you) is using Google Slides. Google Slides makes it simple to create digital task cards or answer word problems without you having to make copies for every student.

These adding decimals Google Slides are simple to use. Simply upload to Google Classroom, set to “make a copy for each student”, and you’re done! There are over 20 practice slides with various activities, such as place value match up and decimal patterns.

Ideas for Subtracting Decimal Centers

Table Tents
Table Tents

Table Tents

These are a fun alternative to task cards, and they keep students constantly moving and working. On the table tents, you want to include one problem for the student to focus on. When they are done, they move to the next tent.

I created twelve table tent challenges for subtracting decimals. Simply print them out, cut down the center of the paper, and fold! Now, they are ready to go for centers.

Spinner Games

Spinner Games
Spinner Games

Table centers are an exciting way to mix up traditional math practice. Write several subtracting decimal problems on a paper spinner. In their center, students then spin and solve the problem that it lands on.

These subtracting decimal math spinners will add some excitement to your centers. The resource comes with three spinning mats. (Pss…I have them for adding decimals, too!)

Digital Centers with Google Forms

Google Forms
Google Forms

When planning centers, I always include a digital practice because it helps me collect data and instantly analyze how my students are performing on the topic. You can put a variety of different problems on the Google Form, and you can even make them self-checking! This Google Form resource for subtracting decimals includes three quizzes for five questions each. Each quiz is also self-checking!