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.
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.
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.
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. . . .
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
An old game but lots of arithmetic!
Shut the Box game for an adult and child. Can you turn over the cards which match the numbers on the dice?
Many natural systems appear to be in equilibrium until suddenly a critical point is reached, setting up a mudslide or an avalanche or an earthquake. In this project, students will use a simple. . . .
Unmultiply is a game of quick estimation. You need to find two numbers that multiply together to something close to the given target - fast! 10 levels with a high scores table.
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.
All you need for this game is a pack of cards. While you play the
game, think about strategies that will increase your chances of
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
A game played with a standard pack of cards.
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.
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 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 game that tests your understanding of remainders.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
A game in which players take it in turns to choose a number. Can you block your opponent?
Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some 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.
Who said that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
couldn't be fun?
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
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.
Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.
A game for 1 person to play on screen. Practise your number bonds
whilst improving your memory
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
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.
A game for two or more players that uses a knowledge of measuring
tools. Spin the spinner and identify which jobs can be done with
the measuring tool shown.
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.
Match the halves.
A train building game for 2 players.
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
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.
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
We think this 3x3 version of the game is often harder than the 5x5 version. Do you agree? If so, why do you think that might be?
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
Board Block game for two. Can you stop your partner from being able to make a shape on the board?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Four Go game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have four numbers in a row on the number line?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?