Be a Prime Number Hunter

Fifth Grade Algebra & Functions Activities: Be a Prime Number Hunter

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Wondering how to help your child get a handle on prime numbers? Why not turn her into a prime number hunter?

What You Need:

  • Colored markers
  • Printable hundreds chart

Review: A prime number is a whole number greater than zero that has exactly two different factors, one and itself. For example, the number 3 is a prime number because its only factors are 1 and 3. In contrast, a composite number is a whole number greater than zero that has more than two different factors. The number 6 is a composite number because its factors are 1, 6, 2, and 3.

It’s important to note that the number 1 is neither prime nor composite. It is not prime because it does not have exactly two different factors. And it is not composite because it does not have more than two factors. 1 is a special number.

What You Do:

  1. Print out a copy of a hundreds chart. Cut or fold the hundreds chart in half if you only want to focus on the prime numbers through 50.
  2. Take a moment to review what makes a prime number. Then let the game begin!
  3. To play, tell your child that you will be competing to cross out all the composite (non prime) numbers, and circle all the prime numbers. Designate one color marker for the prime numbers, and another to cross out composite numbers.
  4. Each player will take turns either crossing out a composite number (1 point), circling a prime number (3 points), or “passing.” The game will get easier as more number are crossed and circled, but the bigger numbers may present more of a challenge to your child. You may need to take your child through the definition of prime numbers a few times as you look at different numbers.
  5. The player with the most points at the end wins!

After you have played the game, check your answers. The prime numbers through 50 revealed from this activity are: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, and 47.

Jane Oh has taught third and fourth grades for 8 years. She has worked with many diverse groups of students. Most recently, she has written teacher textbook guides.

Updated on Nov 6, 2013
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