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, 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.
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?
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. . . .
Shut the Box game for an adult and child. Can you turn over the cards which match the numbers on the dice?
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.
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
The idea of this game is to add or subtract the two numbers on the dice and cover the result on the grid, trying to get a line of three. Are there some numbers that are good to aim for?
An old game but lots of arithmetic!
A card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
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 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 two players on a large squared space.
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
A game for 2 people. Use your skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to blast the asteroids.
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.
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 2 people that can be played on line or with pens and paper. Combine your knowledege of coordinates with your skills of strategic thinking.
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
An interactive activity for one to experiment with a tricky tessellation
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. Practises subtraction or other maths
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
A train building game for 2 players.
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
Take it in turns to make a triangle on the pegboard. Can you block your opponent?
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
Match the halves.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
Throw the dice and decide whether to double or halve the number. Will you be the first to reach the target?
Incey Wincey Spider game for an adult and child. Will Incey get to the top of the drainpipe?
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
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Board Block game for two. Can you stop your partner from being able to make a shape on the board?
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.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
A game for two players. You'll need some counters.
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.