In this article for teachers, Liz Woodham describes the criteria she uses to choose mathematical games for the classroom and shares some examples from NRICH.
This article, the second in the series, looks at some different types of games and the sort of mathematical thinking they can develop.
Not all of us a bursting with creative game ideas, but there are
several ways to go about creating a game that will assist even the
busiest and most reluctant game designer.
Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
This article supplies teachers with information that may be useful in better understanding the nature of games and their role in teaching and learning mathematics.
Basic strategy games are particularly suitable as starting points
for investigations. Players instinctively try to discover a winning
strategy, and usually the best way to do this is to analyse. . . .
Here are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
You'll need two dice to play this game against a partner. Will Incey Wincey make it to the top of the drain pipe or the bottom of the drain pipe first?
A number card game for 2-6 players.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the run-up to Christmas.
A fun game for two. You'll need some counters.
A game for 2 players. This could be played outside with people instead of counters. Try to trap or escape from your opponent.
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
A game for 2 players. Draw a daisy with at least 5 petals. Shade 1 or 2 petals next to each other. The winner shades the last petal.
A game somewhat similar to 'noughts and crosses' on a much larger
In this game you throw two dice and find their total, then move the appropriate counter to the right. Which counter reaches the purple box first? Is this what you would expect?
A game for 2 people that everybody knows. You can play with a
friend or online. If you play correctly you never lose!
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
A game for two players. You'll need some counters and somewhere to draw a board.
A fun puzzle with tantrix tiles.
The idea of this game is to add or subtract the two numbers on the dice and cover the result on the grid, trying to get a line of three. Are there some numbers that are good to aim for?
The game uses a 3x3 square board. 2 players take turns to play,
either placing a red on an empty square, or changing a red to
orange, or orange to green. The player who forms 3 of 1 colour in a
line. . . .
A game played with a standard pack of cards.
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.
A game for 1 person to develop stategy and shape and space awareness. 12 counters are placed on a board. Counters are removed one at a time. The aim is to be left with only 1 counter.
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
A game for 2 people. Take turns placing a counter on the star. You win when you have completed a line of 3 in your colour.
A game for 2 players. Using 2 dice, some counters and a games board, can you form a line of counters from one side of the board to the other?
A game for two players. You'll need some counters.
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
This is a game for 2 players. Each player has 4 counters each, and
wins by blocking their opponent's counters. A good follow-on from
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
A game for 1 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.
Take it in turns to place a domino on the grid. One to be placed horizontally and the other vertically. Can you make it impossible for your opponent to play?
Match the halves.
A game to make and play based on the number line.
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
A train building game for 2 players.
A game for 2 people using a pack of cards Turn over 2 cards and try
to make an odd number or a multiple of 3.
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some of
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
First Connect Three game for an adult and child. Use the dice numbers and either addition or subtraction to get three numbers in a straight line.
Four Go game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have four numbers in a row on the number line?
Board Block game for two. Can you stop your partner from being able to make a shape on the board?
Spiralling Decimals game for an adult and child. Can you get three decimals next to each other on the spiral before your partner?