Monday, January 30, 2012

Up & Down, Add & Subtract – Elevator Math!

At the library, I stumbled on a wonderful math word problem book – Arithme-Tickle by J. Patrick Lewis. The first problem in the book is about a mailman that rides the elevator up and down delivering letters and packages. Readers have to use their math skills to figure out what floor he eventually ends up on.

It was the inspiration for this little game - Elevator Math!!

What You Need
24-floor skyscraper picture (download it here)
Fine-tip dry-erase markers
2 regular dice
1 adapted UP and DOWN die (visit my Slide-A-Story activity for a download)
Notebook paper and pencil (optional)

To play, write six destinations on different floors of the laminated skyscraper (e.g. swimming pool, vet, chocolate shop, toy store, art studio, cheese factory, cafeteria, karate dojo, etc.).

See how many of the special destinations you visit while “riding” the elevator 11 times.

Roll the two regular dice. Add the dots together. Roll them again and add all the dots together. The total of these four dice rolls equal the floor that you start on.

Next, roll the three dice. Add the dots on the two regular die together and, if the third die reads “UP,” add the totaled number to the floor number you are on; if the other die reads “DOWN,” subtract the number from the floor number you are on. Then, color a window on that floor and make a tally mark. Roll the three dice 9 more times until you have 10 tally marks on your skyscraper page, adding/subtracting and coloring the floors.

THE ROOF/BASEMENT: If the player ends up on the roof or in the basement, have him/her circle the word “roof” or “basement.” When on the roof, there’s only one way to go: down. The opposite is true for a player stuck in the basement. A total of the two regular dice determines how far up/down the player goes. For example, if the player is stuck on the roof and rolls a seven, they’ll descend 7 floors to floor 17.

My son has played this game three times since I made it. Even though it's as much a game in pretend as it is a math exercise, my son was thrilled this last time to finally "pay a visit" to LEGOland!


  1. LOVE this! We are totally going to try this! Thanks for sharing - you always come up with the most amazing things - I guess that is why you are one of my favorite blogs!
    Beth =-)

  2. We do something similar to this but use milk cartons. I had forgotten all about this since I don't think I have done it with my younger two, just my older three when they were younger. Thanks for reminding me. Very cute worksheet.

  3. What a great idea! I am going to try this with my children, thanks for sharing!

  4. TAG! You're it! Stop by and see what it's all about :)

    Wiggins World

  5. How fun! I love all of your hands-on activities and games!

  6. Fun! We are going to try this one out, too. I always love the things that you make.

  7. This is a very neat idea. We also read that book and liked it a lot.

  8. What a great printable thanks for sharing. : )

  9. LOVE LOVE LOVE! Pinning it now!

  10. Love this! I'm going to use it for multiplication, too! I'll print enough buildings for everyone and see who can make it to the roof first! Thanks!

  11. We used this in class today, and it was the favorite center! I put a fun thing on every floor to keep my kindergarteners' interest, and they had a lot of fun with it! Definitely using this next year!

    1. Ah, Chelsea, that TOTALLY makes my day! I'm SO glad your students enjoyed this little math activity. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  12. Used this for our math today. Instead of making an up/down die, we used a regular one and said that odd = up and even = down. Worked well for us and you are right that LEGOLAND is a great motivator. :-)