Math Word Searches to Teach Basic Arithmetic

math word searches

Did you know you can make math word searches as customizable as math crossword puzzles? Not a lot of teachers know this, and yet math word searches engage students in a whole new way. Arithmetic in particular fits well into word searches. Create your word search today, or learn more here about how My Word Search can help you make an amazing math word search.

Making Math Word Searches for Arithmetic

More likely than not, you’ll have a lesson plan to create your math word searches with. Feel free to scroll to the section that best fits your lesson plan. Our primary sections include counting, terms, and arithmetic.

Counting
As an introduction to math, a word search could simply feature whole numbers starting with the number one. Then as students learn more numbers, word searches will get higher numerically. To make a more advanced counting word search, list numbers by their numerical digit rather than their written name (i.e. 3 instead of three) in the word bank. Then have students find the full word in the word search. It’ll look like this:

math word searches

The “1” shape in our puzzle maker would be great fun for a counting word search. This teacher used it for this “1-20 Numbers” word search.

You may also change the size of the puzzle to denote the size of the numbers, as this teacher did with an “Adding Big Numbers” word search.

To increase the difficulty of the puzzle, mix and match different kinds of numbers. Only include even numbers in one puzzle, then odd in the next. Vary the digits of the numbers in your word list. Or ensure students are following directions by telling them to only find the prime numbers in the word search, even if non-prime numbers are listed in the word bank.

Then demonstrate trends in numbers to help students solve the word search. For example, show them how twenty through ninety all end in “ty,” or how one through nine will all repeat at the end of numbers higher than twenty.

Terms
Before your students can perform basic arithmetic, you’ll need to teach them the associated terms. They’ll learn these terms quickly through vocabulary-based math word searches. Terms might include:

  • Add
  • Multiply
  • Divide
  • Subtract
  • Plus
  • Minus
  • And so on.

This teacher included numerous advanced multiplication and division terms for students to learn. Notice just how advanced some of these terms are; different grades can enjoy more advanced math word searches as they learn and grow.

Arithmetic
Once you’re ready to add a solving component, you’ll begin to change the word list from a single number to a mathematical equation. For example, if the answer is eleven, the word list could say “19-8,” “Nineteen minus eight,” or some variation. You can have students show their work on the page, or include extra paper for them to solve their work. You could even go so far as to put an entire word problem or story problem in the word bank.

Math Word Searches by Other Teachers

For more math word searches beyond those shared here, browse math word searches through our Math Word Search Puzzle Topics page. As you’ll see, counting word searches are also popular with language teachers.

If you find a pre-made word search you’d like to use for your own class, “edit a copy” if you’d like to customize the puzzle. This is how you’ll change a few words in the word list, the size of the word search, or the design of it without remaking the whole puzzle from scratch.

The creativity and novelty of math word searches will engage students on another level. And with so many customizable options, students can enjoy word searches no matter what grade they’re in. Crossword puzzles are great as well! Don’t forget to check out our math crossword puzzles, and start making your math word searches and crosswords today!

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