This article, the second in the series, looks at some different types of games and the sort of mathematical thinking they can develop.
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 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.
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
A number card game for 2-6 players.
Try this version of Snap with a friend - do you know the order of
the days of the week?
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?
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 fun game for two. You'll need some counters.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
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. . . .
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. . . .
In this game, you can add, subtract, multiply or divide the numbers
on the dice. Which will you do so that you get to the end of the
number line first?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
A fun puzzle with tantrix tiles.
A game for two players. You'll need some counters and somewhere to draw a board.
Incey Wincey Spider game for an adult and child. Will Incey get to the top of the drainpipe?
A game somewhat similar to 'noughts and crosses' on a much larger
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
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?
Can you use the numbers on the dice to reach your end of the number line before your partner beats you?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
A game played with a standard pack of cards.
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.
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.
Match the halves.
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.
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.
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
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
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
Four Go game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have four numbers in a row on the number line?
Board Block game for two. Can you stop your partner from being able to make a shape on the board?
Stop the Clock game for an adult and child. How can you make sure you always win this game?
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
A train building game for 2 players.
Shut the Box game for an adult and child. Can you turn over the cards which match the numbers on the dice?
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
In this game for two players, the idea is to take it in turns to choose 1, 3, 5 or 7. The winner is the first to make the total 37.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
Who said that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
couldn't be fun?
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.