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.
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. . . .
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
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
A train building game for 2 players.
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?
Match the halves.
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
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. . . .
A card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
Play this well-known game against the computer where each player is
equally likely to choose scissors, paper or rock. Why not try the
A game for 2 players. Draw a daisy with at least 5 petals. Shade 1 or 2 petals next to each other. The winner shades the last petal.
A game for 2 people that can be played on line or with pens and paper. Combine your knowledege of coordinates with your skills of strategic thinking.
An interactive game to be played on your own or with friends.
Imagine you are having a party. Each person takes it in turns to
stand behind the chair where they will get the most chocolate.
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.
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
An interactive activity for one to experiment with a tricky tessellation
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.
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
Board Block game for two. Can you stop your partner from being able to make a shape on the board?
Four Go game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have four numbers in a row on the number line?
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Incey Wincey Spider game for an adult and child. Will Incey get to the top of the drainpipe?
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.
Stop the Clock game for an adult and child. How can you make sure you always win this game?
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.
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
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 are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
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?
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the run-up to Christmas.
A game for 2 players. This could be played outside with people instead of counters. Try to trap or escape from your opponent.
A game for two players on a large squared space.
Exchange the positions of the two sets of counters in the least possible number of moves
Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be
removed. Click to remover them. The winner is the last one to
remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?
A variant on the game Alquerque
A game for 2 people. Take turns placing a counter on the star. You win when you have completed a line of 3 in your colour.