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.
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.
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. . . .
Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
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.
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?
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
A game played with a standard pack of cards.
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
A game to make and play based on the number line.
An activity based on the game 'Pelmanism'. Set your own level of challenge and beat your own previous best score.
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
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
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 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.
A game for 1 person to play on screen. Practise your number bonds
whilst improving your memory
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
Spiralling Decimals game for an adult and child. Can you get three decimals next to each other on the spiral before your partner?
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 1 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.
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.
Interactive game. Set your own level of challenge, practise your table skills and beat your previous best score.
A number card game for 2-6 players.
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
How good are you at estimating angles?
Here are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
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?
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?
Take turns to place a decimal number on the spiral. Can you get three consecutive numbers?
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.
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.
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 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.
Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some of
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 fun puzzle with tantrix tiles.
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.
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...
A game for 1 person. Can you work out how the dice must be rolled from the start position to the finish? Play on line.
A game for two players on a large squared space.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
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?