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 supplies teachers with information that may be useful in better understanding the nature of games and their role in teaching and learning mathematics.
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, the second in the series, looks at some different types of games and the sort of mathematical thinking they can develop.
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
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?
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. . . .
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
A fun game for two. You'll need some counters.
Try this version of Snap with a friend - do you know the order of
the days of the week?
A game to be played against the computer, or in groups. Pick a 7-digit number. A random digit is generated. What must you subract to remove the digit from your number? the first to zero wins.
A game somewhat similar to 'noughts and crosses' on a much larger
A fun puzzle with tantrix tiles.
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
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 for 2 players. This could be played outside with people instead of counters. Try to trap or escape from your opponent.
A game for 2 people that everybody knows. You can play with a
friend or online. If you play correctly you never lose!
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.
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 number card game for 2-6 players.
Here are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
Everthing you have always wanted to do with dominoes! Some of these
games are good for practising your mental calculation skills, and
some are good for your reasoning skills.
A game for 2 players. Take turns to place a counter so that it
occupies one of the lowest possible positions in the grid. The
first player to complete a line of 4 wins.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the run-up to Christmas.
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
A game played with a standard pack of cards.
A game for two players. You'll need some counters and somewhere to draw a board.
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
An ordinary set of dominoes can be laid out as a 7 by 4 magic
rectangle in which all the spots in all the columns add to 24,
while those in the rows add to 42. Try it! Now try the magic
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 card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.
A game for 2 players. Practises subtraction or other maths
In this game for two players, you throw two dice and find the product. How many shapes can you draw on the grid which have that area or perimeter?
A game for 2 or more people. Starting with 100, subratct a number from 1 to 9 from the total. You score for making an odd number, a number ending in 0 or a multiple of 6.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
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?
A train building game for 2 players.
An interactive activity for one to experiment with a tricky tessellation
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
Match the halves.
Who said that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
couldn't be fun?
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
A game for 2 or more players with a pack of cards. Practise your
skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to hit
the target score.