Teacher-led motivation ideas for Imagine Math

While Imagine Math offers a lot of built-in motivation, sometimes a teacher-led plan is the extra boost students need to perform at their best. Motivation plans don’t need to be expensive or time-consuming—just find out what motivates your students and use that to create your plan.


Base your incentives on the number of lessons passed to ensure students strive for high-quality work rather than rushing through their lessons. You can track the number of lessons passed with charts to hang in your classroom. For maximum success, each student should pass at least 30 lessons by the end of the school year.

Below are some motivation ideas to help your students get excited about using Imagine Math.

Individual-Centered Ideas

  • Set a weekly or monthly lessons-passed goal and reward students who meet it. You can reward them with simple things, such as:
    • Candy Jar - Students get a piece of candy for every lesson passed.
    • Free Time - Students get extra recess time or time to read or work on an activity of their choice.
    • Bonus Points - Students earn extra points to improve their classwork grade.
    • Weekly/Monthly Drawings - Popular and effective prizes include slushies or milkshakes, candy,  snacks, soft drinks, free time, and homework passes. Use scratch-off stickers to create randomized prizes.
  • Sticker Chart - Some elementary students enjoy adding a sticker to a chart every time they pass a lesson. This lets them visualize how close they are to achieving the goal of passing 30 lessons by the end of the school year. Printable sticker templates are available in Teacher Resources in Imagine Math.

Class-Centered Ideas

  • Avatar Design (Imagine Math 3+ only) - Challenge students to create an avatar that looks specifically like someone, whether it’s a teacher, principal, or celebrity. The more points the student earns, the easier it will be to get the right accessories.
  • Avatar Display (Imagine Math 3+ only) - Print the avatars and put them on display in the hallway at your school. For students who pass the number of lessons you specify, make iron-on decals of the avatars and create t-shirts for students to wear to school.
  • Class Party - Challenge students to work together as a team to reach a goal. In return, they get to enjoy a party. It doesn’t have to be expensive—think popcorn, donuts, or ice cream. For example, once everyone in the class passes 10 lessons, they earn the party. Students will start encouraging each other so they can achieve the goal.


    Imagine Math 3+ teachers can create a party as a classroom goal inside Imagine Math. Choose Teacher-sponsored Classroom Award when setting up your goal.

  • Teacher's Helper - Many elementary students look forward to being the line leader or running notes to the office. Take advantage of this excitement by designating a Teacher’s Helper each week based on progress in Imagine Math. 

Whole-School Ideas

  • Traveling Trophy - If there are several other classes using Imagine Math, set weekly criteria for student achievement and award the winning class with a trophy. Repeat the process each week, allowing the trophy to "travel" from one room to another and creating a sense of friendly competition among classes.
  • Class Awards - At the end of each 9 weeks, consider holding an Imagine Math awards assembly to honor hard-working students. Imagine Math provides certificates to assist you in recognizing student achievement.
  • Weekly Super Stars - Many schools recognize the top Imagine Math students in each class or grade by mentioning them on the morning/afternoon announcements or creating a bulletin board to showcase their achievements each week. This also encourages other students to strive for excellence in Imagine Math.
  • Grade vs. Grade - A grade vs. grade competition is a great way to motivate students to work together as a team. Announce the winning grade on a weekly or monthly basis and reward them with a small prize.