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.
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.
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.
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. . . .
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
Four Go game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have four numbers in a row on the number 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
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
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.
Match the halves.
A game to make and play based on the number line.
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. . . .
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
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 card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
A fun puzzle with tantrix tiles.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the
numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
Board Block game for two. Can you stop your partner from being able to make a shape on the board?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
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.
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
A game for two players on a large squared space.
A game for 1 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.
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?
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.
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.
Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some of
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 matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
Take turns to place a decimal number on the spiral. Can you get three consecutive numbers?
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?
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.
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?
Who said that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
couldn't be fun?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
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.
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
A train building game for 2 players.
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
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.