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Factors Race Activity

I created this factors race activity to give my math concepts students practice listing all of the factors of a number. I shared it on twitter in January 2018, and it’s only now making it to my blog in January 2020. Better late than never, right?!?

title of "factors race" above drawing of two black and white checkered race flags

To prep for the activity, I printed 4 sheets of cards that contained the numbers 1-100. After cutting the cards apart, the activity is ready to go! You will also need a bucket or basket of some sort.

small pieces of paper with numbers 1-100 printed on individual pieces.

We had already been practicing divisibility rules and finding the factors of numbers. This was just extra practice. I told students that we were going to have a factor race. They could each come up to my desk and grab any number of their choosing.

List of Factors written by student on dry erase pocket.

Each student had to take their number back to their desk and find all of the factors of the number. They wrote these factors on a dry erase pocket.


dry erase pockets

I cannot imagine teaching math without my dry erase pockets! They instantly make any activity more engaging and save me countless hours at the copy machine since I can use the same class sets of copies year after year.

Here are my current go-to recommendations:

If you don’t have a classroom set of dry erase pockets, you could also use heavy duty sheet protectors. But, I highly recommend investing in a classroom set of the pockets since they are so much more durable.

Once they had found all the factors, they brought the list of factors to my desk to get checked. If they were correct, they would write their name on the card and place it in the bucket on my desk. They would then proceed to grab a new number and take it back to their desk.

small pieces of paper in bucket with numbers from 1 to 100 written on individual pieces.

If they were incorrect, I would send them back to their desk to double check their work and see if they had found an incorrect factor OR if they had missed one or more factors.

Students were to race through the activity to complete as many cards as possible. If students were clever, they could use what we had learned about prime numbers to maximize the number of cards in the bucket with their name on it. After all, it’s a lot faster to list all of the factors of 13 then it is to list all the factors of 90.

I intentionally let my students pick their own cards for this very reason.

At the end of class or as soon as all the numbers were in the bucket, I drew a name out of the bucket and gave that student a small prize. Usually I would give out candy as my prize, but I had given out all my candy before Christmas Break. I ended up giving the winning student 5 points extra credit on the next day’s factor quiz.

Interesting Activity Adaptation from Twitter

When I shared this activity on Twitter, Neil Hamilton shared a brilliant idea for adapting it.

He suggested having students choose 5 numbers from the 100 numbers. Once each student chooses their numbers, they figure out the factors of each number. The student with the most factors wins!

I really like this twist!