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.
Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
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.
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. . . .
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 game for two players. You'll need some counters.
A number card game for 2-6 players.
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?
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?
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
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
A game for two players. You'll need some counters and somewhere to draw a board.
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?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your opponent.
Can you use the numbers on the dice to reach your end of the number line before your partner beats you?
Incey Wincey Spider game for an adult and child. Will Incey get to the top of the drainpipe?
A game played with a standard pack of cards.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
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?
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
A fun puzzle with tantrix tiles.
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
Can you spot the similarities between this game and other games you know? The aim is to choose 3 numbers that total 15.
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
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 train building game for 2 players.
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
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 or more people. Starting with 100, subratct a number from 1 to 9 from the total. You score for making an odd number, a number ending in 0 or a multiple of 6.
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. . . .
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
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.
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
Match the halves.
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.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
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.
In this game for two players, the aim is to make a row of four coins which total one dollar.
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?
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.