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Fear Factor in the Classroom

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! It can definitely add to the classroom craziness, but I choose to harness all that energy instead. One of the ways to do this is through classroom transformations. For our transformation this year, I chose to do a Halloween Fear Factor Math transformation, inspired by my dear friend Katie at Adventuresofmssmith.com.

halloween math activity and games

The Content…you know…the most important part of any transformation.

This transformation would allow us to go over 4 of the major skills we had been working on and needed to review for an upcoming assessment. I created four sets of spooky themed task cards that reviewed ordered of operations, multiplying and dividing decimals with models and word problems, and matching equations to word problems. If you happen to be in Texas, like I am, these are some of the most difficult skills that we teach all year. I wanted to create a fun and engaging way for my students to practice these challenging skills.

The task cards were an easy way to add a little fun to the day since they are Halloween themed and you could definitely just play off of that. Orrrrrr you can even take it a step farther and add in some Fear Factor mystery boxes, like I did!

halloween math taskcards

Mystery Box Set Up

I created three mystery boxes for our transformation. There was a box of intestines (cooked spaghetti with oil), eyeballs (peeled grapes with oil), and maggots and bugs (cooked rice and raisins). Ever  peeled grapes before? Haha! Fun times! So worth it though! I put the items into cheap plastic tubs and covered them with a printer paper boxes. Easy peasy!

I added in some Halloween table clothes, Halloween lights, plastic rats, and we were ready to roll!

fear factor boxes for the classroom

How it worked:

I had students work in partners to solve the task cards. Once they solved the card, they would check their answer with me. Then they could go up to the fear factor box and reach in to get a new card! There was a different type of task card in each box for the different skills we were needing to practice (I combined all the multiplication and division cards, with and without models, into one box)! I had them rotate through the three different boxes to make sure they were practicing all the different skills.

Students did not have to participate, because I definitely had a few kids that did not want to get the task cards out of the fear factor boxes. So I also had a set a task cards that were not in the fear factor boxes that I could just give them if they didn’t want to do the boxes. Or if only one person wanted to participate, they would just send that person to get the card each time!

The Clean Up

In order to keep things kind of clean, I put a roll of paper towels on each table. This allowed them to wipe the cards off because they were a bit oily! And it also gave them a way to wipe their hands. I fully expected their recording sheets to just be completely gross and greasy, buuuuuuut to my surprise, they were not at all! They did such a good job of keeping things as neat as possible while still doing something totally gross! When we were completely finished, everyone had the opportunity to clean off their hands with a baby wipe or go wash in the bathroom if they really felt like they needed to!

The cards lasted the entire day, which was a bit surprising! I was worried about the amount of oil that would soak through onto the card, even though they were laminated. I will definitely have to reprint and make new cards each year I do this, but they lasted just fine throughout the day!

My students were so completely engaged and focused! What more could you ask for on Halloween! What do you do during Halloween, or the holidays in general, to harness all that great energy?

Click the images below for the full and non-Halloween versions!

Halloween math taskcardsorder of operation taskcardsmultistep equation tascardsmultiplication and division taskcards

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halloween fear factor math

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