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.
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. . . .
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.
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.
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 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. . . .
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 game for 1 person to play on screen. Practise your number bonds
whilst improving your memory
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
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?
Interactive game. Set your own level of challenge, practise your table skills and beat your previous best score.
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 players. Draw a daisy with at least 5 petals. Shade 1 or 2 petals next to each other. The winner shades the last petal.
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
A game to make and play based on the number line.
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
Here are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the run-up to Christmas.
Take turns to place a decimal number on the spiral. Can you get three consecutive numbers?
Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some of
Spiralling Decimals game for an adult and child. Can you get three decimals next to each other on the spiral before your partner?
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.
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.
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?
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
An activity based on the game 'Pelmanism'. Set your own level of challenge and beat your own previous best score.
A number card game for 2-6 players.
A fun game for two. You'll need some counters.
A game for two players. You'll need some counters.
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 2 people that everybody knows. You can play with a
friend or online. If you play correctly you never lose!
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.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
A card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
A train building game for 2 players.
Try to stop your opponent from being able to split the piles of counters into unequal numbers. Can you find a strategy?
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
An extension of noughts and crosses in which the grid is enlarged
and the length of the winning line can to altered to 3, 4 or 5.
A game for two players on a large squared space.
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
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
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.