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, 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.
Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
A number card game for 2-6 players.
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.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
A game somewhat similar to 'noughts and crosses' on a much larger
A game for two players. You'll need some counters.
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 played with a standard pack of cards.
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
Try this version of Snap with a friend - do you know the order of
the days of the week?
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.
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. . . .
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
A game for two players. You'll need some counters and somewhere to draw a board.
Can you use the numbers on the dice to reach your end of the number line before your partner beats you?
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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?
A fun puzzle with tantrix tiles.
Match the halves.
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?
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.
A game for 1 person to play on screen. Practise your number bonds
whilst improving your memory
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
A card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
A train building game for 2 players.
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
Have a go at this game which involves throwing two dice and adding
their totals. Where should you place your counters to be more
likely to win?
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 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.
In this game for two players, the aim is to make a row of four coins which total one dollar.
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.
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?
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
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
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 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.