Rounding, estimating, number sense, and computation skills!!! This is an adaptable game that can be played in pairs or can be used as a whole group activity. You can make this work at many academic levels. This can be left in a station in the room for students to use when finished with other work, or it can be done as a whole class activity. The teacher can also play against the class using a document camera.
Copy the chosen activity card on cardstock paper. I put the simple multiplication board and the more difficult multiplication board back to back on cardstock paper to allow for differentiation in one class. You can then have students play either side, depending on skill level. The object of this activity is to be the first player to get five in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. (You can adapt the winning requirement to be more than five or less than five in a row, depending on the time constraints in your classroom.)
Students use different colored markers to cover their numbers. First player takes two factors/addends listed at the bottom, does the multiplication or addition. If both students agree that the answer is correct, player gets to cover that number. Second player does the same thing, trying to get five in a row. Students play until one gets five in a row. If there is a dispute about an answer, students may use a calculator to solve the dispute. Students need to realize that blocking opponent's rows is also extremely important. Estimation and mental math will become very important, especially at the higher level of difficulty. For instance, if a students needs to cover the number 4094 to add to a row, would that student pick
factors 35 and 45? Rounding and estimation can be practiced in this way: Here's how a student might think, "35 rounds to 40 and 45 rounds to 50. I can do 40 times 50 in my head. That answer is 2000. That is way too low. I better look for other factors that are larger."