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.
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.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
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. . . .
Can you beat Piggy in this simple dice game? Can you figure out
Piggy's strategy, and is there a better one?
The computer starts with all the lights off, but then clicks 3, 4
or 5 times at random, leaving some lights on. Can you switch them
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the
site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to
develop the skills of strategic planning.
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?
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
Can you identify the mathematicians?
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.
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 for 2 players with similaritlies to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
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 square...
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the
numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
Help the bee to build a stack of blocks far enough to save his
friend trapped in the tower.
Try this interactive strategy game for 2
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
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
A game for 2 players that can be played online. Players take it in turns to select a word from the 9 words given. The aim is to select all the occurrences of the same letter.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
How good are you at estimating angles?
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 collection of games on the NIM theme
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
A game for two people, who take turns to move the counters. The player to remove the last counter from the board wins.
This article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
A game for 1 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.
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 shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
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.
A game to make and play based on the number line.
A train building game for 2 players.
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
Can you spot the similarities between this game and other games you know? The aim is to choose 3 numbers that total 15.
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.
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
Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some of
Four Go game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have four numbers in a row on the number line?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
Factors and Multiples game for an adult and child. How can you make sure you win this game?
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?