4 Unique 2nd Grade Math Projects Your Students Will Love

Are you looking for a fun and engaging way for your students to practice their math skills? All four of these unique 2nd grade math projects are sure to grab your students’ attention and build their math confidence.  

From competing in a measuring competition to planning the birthday schedule of their dreams, these projects are designed to help your students practice essential math skills while having a blast. Not only will they reinforce concepts such as place value, measuring length, graphing data, and telling time, but they will also allow your students to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.

Each of the resources listed below makes prepping for project based learning a breeze and makes implementation seamless. These projects are presented in guides that feature detailed visual instructions on each page, making it possible for students to complete their unique projects with maximum independence.

Core Inspiration 2nd grade winter measure-then math project with student measurement record, ruler, and project instruction card

You know what that means…you’ll have the time you need to teach or reteach essential math skills to small groups or provide scaffolding to students who need it most while your students are engaged in meaningful work that helps them dig deeper and apply the skills they’re learning in math!

Click the project that aligns with your next unit and get started with easy and engaging project based learning in your classroom!

2nd Grade Math Project #1: Place Value In The Wild

During this project based learning (PBL) unit, your students will work toward becoming an expedition scout for Wildlife Explorers International. As part of their job application process, they must create an expedition field guide filled with information about animals from the habitat of their choice.

This 2nd grade math project requires the application of students’ knowledge of place value. Throughout the process of the Place Value In The Wild simulation, students apply their knowledge through creative design, engage in informational research that incorporates their math knowledge, and build organization skills as they plan and execute this multi-day project.

Core Inspiration 2nd grade place value math project with rubric and several pages of student work samples.

The focus of this math simulation is on second and third-grade place value standards. Throughout the project, students will:

  • Understand that the digits of a number represent amounts like hundreds, tens, and ones.
  • Read and write numbers using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded forms.
  • Compare two numbers based on the meanings of the hundreds, tens, and ones digits.
  • Use place value understanding to round whole numbers to any place.

In addition to these important math skills, students will also practice their expository writing & research skills as they report on amazing facts about the eight animals they choose to feature in their Place Value in the Wild Field Guide

Students will then use their public speaking skills to present their final research either in-person or through a video recording that culminates this project.

2nd Grade Math Project #2: The Time of Your Life

During this math project, your students will compete in a contest to be the next star of a new hit show, The Time Of Your Life. Each contestant must brainstorm activities they would love to do if they could have the birthday of their dreams. 

Students will take their ten favorite brainstormed activities and create a day-long birthday schedule with no time gaps. They will elaborate on this schedule by creating a narrative storyboard that tells the story of the birthday of their dreams using a narrative introduction, transitions, show-not-tell descriptive details, and a narrative conclusion. The lucky winner will get to star in their very own episode of The Time Of Your Life and take part in every activity planned on his/her birthday schedule!

This 2nd grade math project requires the application of students’ knowledge of telling time and elapsed time. Throughout the process of the Time of Your Life simulation, students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge through creative design and practice narrative writing that incorporates their math knowledge.

Core Inspiration 2nd grade telling time math project with detailed visual instruction page next to student project work sample.

The focus of this math project is on second or third-grade telling time standards. Throughout the project, students will:

  • Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using a.m. and p.m. (for second graders).
  • Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes (for third graders).

In addition to these important math skills, students will also practice their narrative writing as they tell the story of their special birthday plans in narrative format. This is the perfect opportunity for students to practice using narrative transitions that show the passing of time.

2nd Grade Math Project #3: Sal’s Sweet Factory

This math simulation introduces your 2nd graders to four methods for displaying data: frequency tables, bar graphs, pictographs, and line plots. Students will record observations about each method for displaying data and compare/contrast methods for collecting data.

They will use this knowledge to solve a problem for Sal’s Sweet Factory. The factory is having some trouble with its production line…the number of sweets being added to each box is unequal. Your students will work through a series of increasingly challenging data-focused steps to help the factory solve their problem.

Core Inspiration 2nd grade data and graphing math project showing all project parts and student work sample

The focus of this 2nd grade math project is on data and graphing standards. During the project, students will draw a scaled picture graph, a scaled bar graph, and a pictograph, and create a frequency table to represent a data set with several categories. 

Students solve one-step and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” data problems using information presented in the graphs they create. In addition, students will solve put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in their graphs.

If you are interested in a Valentine’s Day-themed version of this project, check out Val’s Heart Factory 2nd Grade Data and Graphing Math Project

Core Inspiration 2nd Valentine's Day themed data and graphing math project with detailed visual instruction page and student work sample with word problem solved

2nd Grade Math Project #4: Measure-Thon

During Measure-Thon, your 2nd graders will compete in four measuring events. They will test their physical strength as they blow, kick, flick, and toss a cotton ball through the air, and their mental power as they measure the distance their cotton ball travels using centimeters, inches, and feet. Here are the steps your students will take as they work towards becoming champion Mathlete:

  • Warm Up (students learn everything they need to know to compete)
  • Locker Room (students meet their team & gather equipment before competing)
  • Competition (students compete in all four events, measure, and record their results)
  • Team Meeting (students add their results to the class graphs and analyze their data)
  • Award Ceremony (event champions and participants receive awards)
Core Inspiration 2nd grade winter measure-then math project showing student work sample of data analysis word problems compelted

This math project will help them solidify the measurement skills they’ve mastered through real-world problem-solving rather than being bogged down with worksheets or busy work.

Measure-Thon also serves as a wonderful alternative assessment that allows you to measure student understanding on a deeper level as a culmination to your length measurement unit.

If you are interested in a seasonally-themed version of this project, check out:

Which 2nd Grade Project Will You Bring To Your Classroom?

Your second graders are going to love the opportunity to apply their learning in creative ways using these math projects. I’d love to hear from you if you plan on using any of the projects shared above. If you’re looking for a specific project you don’t see listed here, let me know in the comments below.


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I’m Laura Santos

I’ve been an elementary teacher for ten years, and love sharing tips and resources that make differentiated learning more manageable for you. Thank you for visiting.

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