BUZZ is a fast-paced mental math activity that requires every student in your class to listen carefully, to concentrate for an extended time, and to apply previously-learned math concepts.
The game basically involves the members of your class counting from 1 to 50 or 1 to 100, depending on the grade level and the level of difficulty. Before each round begins, you will identify the BUZZ number for that round. The BUZZ number could be a multiple of a given number, a perfect square, a prime number, a number that contains a certain numeral, a number whose digits have a particular sum, a number whose digits have a certain product, a number whose digits have a given difference, and so forth. As your students count during each round, they substitute the word BUZZ for each designated BUZZ number that comes up.
For example, if the BUZZ number is a multiple of 4, in that round the students will count like this:
1, 2, 3, BUZZ, 5, 6, 7, BUZZ, 9, 10, 11, BUZZ, 13, 14, 15, BUZZ,…….
If the BUZZ number is a number that either contains at least one 3 or has digits whose sum is 3, that round will sound like this:
1, 2, BUZZ, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, BUZZ, BUZZ, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, BUZZ, 22, BUZZ,……
If the BUZZ number is a number that has one digit that is 1 less than the other digit, that round will sound like this:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, BUZZ, 11, BUZZ, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, BUZZ, 22, BUZZ,……
If the BUZZ number is a prime number, that round will sound like this:
1, BUZZ, BUZZ, 4, BUZZ, 6, BUZZ, 8, 9, 10, BUZZ, 12, BUZZ, 14, 15, 16, BUZZ, ……
This resource includes descriptions of 40 different rounds for this game, ranging from very simple to more complex. Answer keys that you can place on a clipboard are included for each round so you can follow and keep track of exactly which numbers should be “BUZZED.” Each answer key also includes a place where you can record the dates when you do each round with your class.
In the non-competitive version of the game, students remain seated in their chairs as you walk around the room randomly pointing to the student who should say the next number. Randomness is a key so that all students remain engaged the entire time. If a pattern is followed and students are able to determine when their turn is coming, they might tune out and think ahead to decide if they need to say BUZZ on their turn.
This version of the game is done on a very low-key level, and no rewards or consequences are involved for correct or incorrect answers. Incorrect responses are analyzed, and corrections are made.
In the competitive version of the game, all the students form a circle around the room. Walking around inside the circle, you indicate which student is to say the next number. As previously stated, randomness in selecting the next student is very important. During the course of a round, a student leaves the circle and is seated after incorrectly BUZZING or not BUZZING a number.
The goal is to have a high number of students still standing at the end of a round. You determine if everyone returns to the circle after each round or after two or three rounds.
This is a very engaging activity that will develop your students’ listening skills and mental math skills. An added bonus is that it’s a lot of fun.