Ask almost any adult, and I think that you will find that they know how to play the game of bingo. If you were to ask them to explain how the game is played, I expect they could tell you in very short space of time – it is that simple to learn the rules. This simplicity also means that the game can be enjoyed by children, and with a few simple modification used as a teaching aid in many different subjects, including math.
The most obvious way to apply bingo to the teaching of math is to use bingo cards printed with numbers, although this may not be the numbers that appear on standard bingo cards, but instead numbers that have been specially selected by the teacher. The students are each given a bingo card and told to mark off squares from them in response to questions given by the teacher. For example, the teacher might say “three times nine”, and the students have to look for the number 27 on their cards. Using this method, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division can all be easily practiced.
Fractions and decimals can also be used as well – the students might be given a conversion problem (they have to find square containing 0.25 when the teacher says “one quarter”, etc.) or a rounding problem (they have to find the square containing 2.6 when the teacher says “round 2.61 to one decimal place”, etc).
An alternative to playing with numbered bingo cards is to use bingo cards printed with math problems. In this case, students would be required to mark off squares by writing in the correct answer to each math problem as it is called off.
Whether you use numbers or problems, a key element however is custom bingo card printed with items specially selected by the teacher. I wouldn’t suggest creating them by hand, since doing so for a whole class would be very time consuming. Instead, teachers can use their computers and bingo card maker software to easily create as many bingo cards as they want, containing whatever items they choose.