Math Prompts:

Math Writing Prompts offer Fabulous Creative Writing Ideas

Math prompts made easy! Here are samples of math instructional prompts for creative writing across the curriculum . Each math writing prompt below is written using the RAFTS technique.

See this page for a quick refresher and to help you design your own math prompts. I wrote these math prompts to address specific National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards. Use these math prompts to begin the important work of writing about math!

Restaurant Mix-Up

  • Role: you
  • Audience: the restaurant manager
  • Format: comment
  • Topic: someone else's dinner bill
  • Strong Verb: revise and express

You are dining with your family at your favorite restaurant. You order three hamburgers with French fries at $6.50 each, one Caesar salad at $5.35, three iced teas at $1.29 each, a lemonade at $1.39, and four desserts at $3.99 each. But when you receive your bill, you discover that you've been charged for an extra hamburger and an extra iced tea. Correct your bill to get an accurate total. Then write a comment to the restaurant manager, expressing your concern regarding the restaurant's overcharging ways and document how you corrected the error.

The Field Trip
  • Role: teacher
  • Audience: parents of students
  • Format: expository letter
  • Topic: field trip costs
  • Strong Verb: explain

You are a teacher of elementary-aged students. Write a letter to the parents of your students, explaining how much it will cost to take a field trip to the natural science museum. Be sure to include fees for transportation, admission prices, and lunch, as well as suggested amount for gift shop spending money.

Class Demonstration
  • Role: you in your math class
  • Audience: your classmates
  • Format: notes for a step-by-step demonstration
  • Topic: how to solve 565 x 24
  • Strong Verb: create and explain

You are an excellent math student. For a class review, your teacher has asked you to create a step-by-step demonstration of how to solve the problem 564 x 24. Be sure to explain each step in the process, so classmates will understand how you got the correct answer.

Treasure Map Grid
  • Role: the pirate treasure-master
  • Audience: the captain of the ship
  • Format: mapped grid
  • Topic: co-ordinates of the treasure on a desert island
  • Strong Verb: identify

You are the treasure-master for a swashbuckling pirate crew. Your job is to keep records of the locations of treasures your ship has hidden on a desert island. For your ship's captain, create a grid of the island where your most recent treasures are buried. Identify the exact co-ordinates of each treasure.

Puzzle Creations
  • Role: puzzle and toy designer
  • Audience: young kids
  • Format: puzzle and simple instructions
  • Topic: puzzles in geometric shapes
  • Strong Verb: design and include

You are a puzzle and toy designer for a major toy company. The sales team reports that young children enjoy large colorful puzzles in geometric shapes. Design a puzzle for this age group, creating it so that all the pieces interlock. Give your puzzle a catchy name and include simple instructions for assembly.

Dream Day at School
  • Role: you
  • Audience: the principal of your school
  • Format: schedules in 30 minute time periods
  • Topic: a dream-day schedule
  • Strong Verb: create

Your school administration is thinking of redesigning the daily schedule and the principal is asking for input from students. Create a dream-day schedule, breaking everything down into 30 minute segments.

New Lunch Menus
  • Role: spokesperson
  • Audience: school lunch oficials
  • Format: persuasive letter
  • Topic: new meals
  • Strong Verb: argue

Students at your school are interested in changing the lunch menus, and you have agreed to be their spokesperson. After surveying your classmates to collect their preferences for healthy yet tasty meals, write a letter to the school lunch officials, arguing a case for new meals your fellow students would enjoy. In your letter, include the survey information you collected to build a case.

Recipe Challenge
  • Role: you
  • Audience: you and your parent
  • Format: recipe
  • Topic: take a favorite dessert recipe and triple it
  • Strong Verb: record

Your mom or dad has agreed to make your favorite dessert. Take the original recipe and triple it, so that there is enough dessert for everyone in the family, as well as some of the neighbors. Record the new recipe so that your mom or dad can start baking.

Everyday Math
  • Role: math tutor
  • Audience: students
  • Format: story problems
  • Topic: how multiplication is used in everyday life
  • Strong Verb: think and write

You are a math tutor for students at an elementary school. The teacher has asked you to help younger children understand the importance of math by connecting it to real-life situations. Think of three examples where multiplication is used in everyday life and write them out in story problems for your students to solve in tutoring sessions.

Potato Patch
  • Role: gardener
  • Audience: yourself
  • Format: plan
  • Topic: rows of potatoes
  • Strong Verb: calculate and write

You are a gardener who is planning your potato patch. You know that if you plant one row, you will harvest enough potatoes for several family meals, but you want more than that. Calculate how many rows of potatoes you need to feed your family for at least two months. Write out your plan so know how many seeds to plant.

Math Magic
  • Role: reporter
  • Audience: Math Magic readers
  • Format: list of questions
  • Topic: strategies to get kids interested in everyday math skills
  • Strong Verb: interview

You are a reporter for the magazine Math Magic. For your next article, you plan to interview a local math teacher about recommended strategies for getting kids interested in everyday math, such as planning a garden, making change, or calculating recipe ingredients. Write the list of questions you intend to ask.

The Weather Report
  • Role: meteorologist
  • Audience: television viewers
  • Format: the evening weather segment
  • Topic: daily temperatures
  • Strong Verb: average and chart

You are a meteorologist at the local television station. Each week, your report features the average daily temperature for that week. Design a graph that charts the daily temperatures to share with your viewers, then write a short script for your segment that includes the average temperature.

Math Average in the Gradebook
  • Role: you
  • Audience: your parents
  • Format: reflection
  • Topic: average your math grades to a median score
  • Strong Verb: calculate and write

You record your grades in a small notebook. Calculate your grades to a median score to share with your parents. Write a reflection for your parents about your strengths and any weaknesses in math.

As you can see, creative writing ideas for math prompts are hidden in plain sight within any math concept: numbers and operations, geometry and measurement, data analysis and problem solving. Design your own math prompts to help your students write creatively, thinking deeply and productively about math everyday! Who knew that math prompts and creative writing could go hand-in-hand! Imagine!

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Return from Math Prompts to Creative Writing Ideas and Activities 

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