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.
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.
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.
This article, the second in the series, looks at some different types of games and the sort of mathematical thinking they can develop.
Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
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 collection of games on the NIM theme
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
An old game but lots of arithmetic!
A number card game for 2-6 players.
A fun game for two. You'll need some counters.
Who said that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
couldn't be fun?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
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.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
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 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 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.
Shut the Box game for an adult and child. Can you turn over the cards which match the numbers on the dice?
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
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. Can be played online. One player has 1 red
counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the
other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
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 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.
A game that tests your understanding of remainders.
Spiralling Decimals game for an adult and child. Can you get three decimals next to each other on the spiral before your partner?
The aim of the game is to slide the green square from the top right
hand corner to the bottom left hand corner in the least number of
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
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.
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
A game for two or more players that uses a knowledge of measuring
tools. Spin the spinner and identify which jobs can be done with
the measuring tool shown.
A game to make and play based on the number line.
Match the halves.
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.
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 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?
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
A train building game for 2 players.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
Factors and Multiples game for an adult and child. How can you make sure you win this game?
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.
In this game for two players, the aim is to make a row of four coins which total one dollar.
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?
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.