One of the most effective ways to differentiate math instruction in the classroom is through the use of math centers (or math workshop)! Math centers allow students to work on activities and use manipulatives that target their specific needs and learning styles. Centers also provide teachers with time to work with smaller groups of students at once.

Donโt know where to start when to differentiate math centers in your classroom? Keep reading to learn how I group my students and some easy ways to differentiate a math center.

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** Read all about Planning & Organizing Math Centers here.**

## Math Workshop Board

These math and literacy workshop rotation boards are a GAME CHANGER! They help keep you and your students on track as they rotate through centers.

**Ways to Group Students for Math Centers**

When it comes to grouping students for math centers, there are different criteria that we can use to help us form our groups. You can use a mix of these and change your groups up throughout the school year!

**Assessment Data**

Assessment data can be a powerful tool for helping us group our students for math centers. Simply group your students by putting those with similar scores in the same group. I like to create four groups in total.

*Itโs important to remember that assessment scores are not definite!*

Sometimes students may have scored lower or higher than their actual ability level. You know your students best, so use your teacher judgment to place those students in the correct groups.

**Mixed Abilities**

Sometimes it can be beneficial to combine students who have different strengths and weaknesses. This allows students to help each other out with learning tasks since they can depend on their peers for support. However, itโs important to ensure that you donโt have *too big *of a gap. Combining very low-level students with very high-level students can cause frustration or lead to copying.

**Specific Standards**

As teachers, we have data on how our students perform on their weekly assessments, so why not use it? Jot a note down of which standards your students have struggled with in this FREE Standard Data Chart.

Then, consider changing up your groups weekly to allow those students to work on that standard during centers. This gives students the opportunity to continue reviewing the concepts they need support with.

While this strategy can be a bit more time-consuming to plan for, itโs worth it for your students! Scroll down or click here for a tip on how to easily implement this in your teacher-led math center.** **

**Easy Ways to Differentiate Math Center**s

Preparing activities to meet the needs of students at each center can be a lot of work for teachers. Here are some easy ideas for differentiating instruction in your math centers.

**Differentiate Types of Questions**

You can quickly differentiate a set of task cards or word problems by providing different answer formats for each group. Some students might benefit from having multiple-choice questions with options to choose from. Higher-achieving students might thrive from open-ended questions that allow them to think outside the box.

These hands-on math activities include multiple-choice and open-ended question formats to fit the needs of different learners in your classroom.

**Provide Manipulatives**

Manipulatives give students the opportunity to visualize and make meaning of mathematical concepts. Whether you provide place value blocks, counters, snap cubes, or something else entirely, manipulatives allow you to make learning tactile for students. Changing up the type of manipulatives at each math center can easily help you differentiate!

For example, if youโre setting up a place value center, some students might need to work with snap cubes to build units of 10. Other students might already have a basic understanding of place value and will benefit from using place value blocks instead.

If youโre adding dice to a center, you can increase the numbers on the dice to accommodate different learners. (EX: 1-digit and 2-digit numbers) Check out some of my favorite math manipulative here.

**Provide Differentiated Work on the Same Standard**

Students can complete work related to the same standard in different ways.

For example, if youโre practicing the standard of time with your students, some of them may be ready to tackle 2-step elapsed time word problems. However, other students may still need practice on using a number line to find elapsed time.

You know your students best, so differentiate the work in your math centers based on what each student can accomplish! You can always brush up on those trickier concepts with students in your teacher-led math group.

## 3rd Grade Math Centers

These fun and engaging math center activities are a perfect way to review third grade math standards!

**How to Differentiate your Teacher-Led Math Group**

Your assessment data can be used to see what standards and skills each student is struggling with. Simply make a log to keep track of which student needs support with which standards. *(Check out the Standard Data Chart freebie below!)*

After youโve determined that, assign each student a colored sticker or a lanyard with a color card to divide them into groups based on the standard they are struggling with.

For example, students with a pink sticker may need support with 2-digit addition, while students with a blue sticker may need support with subtraction.

Then, as students are working in their independent math centers, call different colors to your teacher-led center to work on reviewing each given standard.

**FREE Standard Data Chart**

Use this freebie to help you keep track of the standards each group of students need additional practice with!

**More from the Math Center Blog Series:**

** How to Plan & Organize Math Centers 5 Fun & Simple Math Center Activiti**

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**Managing Behaviors during Math Center**

I hope these tips allow you to differentiate math centers in your classroom in order to meet all of your studentsโ needs!