Copyright © University of Cambridge. All rights reserved.
Why play these games?
These games are thought provoking and very engaging. They encourage
discussion of place value, mental calculations and estimation,
alongside valuable strategic mathematical thinking.
They can be played with 1-6 die but ideally would be played
with a decahedral 0-9 dice or a spinner (an interactive 10-sided
spinner is available here
Draw three copies of the addition grid on the board and ask
for three pairs of volunteers to work at the front. Give each pair
a dice. Explain that they are each trying to get as close to 1000
as possible and have to decide where to place each number after
each throw of their dice.
When the game is over confirm who has won and briefly compare
Working in teams of two, set the students off on playing Game
1. Depending on your aims for the lesson, offer the simple or more
complicated scoring system. Downloadable grid sheets are available
When appropriate, move onto the other games, clarifying the
targets and scoring system for each. Encourage students to vary the
Encourage students to justify their strategies to their
Why are some cells more significant than others?
How do you decide which targets are appropriate?
What are effective strategies for placing the numbers?
You may wish to move students on to
Simplify the calculations by using fewer cells in each
Perhaps provide students with number cards that they can move
around the grid to consider different options.
Pupils who find estimation difficult could use calculators to
check their estimates.
Choose the easiest scoring system or allow calculators for
scoring the more difficult version.
Allow pairs of students to play against other pairs, so that
they can support each other.