Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
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.
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.
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. . . .
Help the bee to build a stack of blocks far enough to save his
friend trapped in the tower.
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
A game for 2 players with similaritlies to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
A collection of games on the NIM theme
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.
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 for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Can you beat Piggy in this simple dice game? Can you figure out
Piggy's strategy, and is there a better one?
This article for teachers describes several games, found on the
site, all of which have a related structure that can be used to
develop the skills of strategic planning.
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the
numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
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.
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
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 article invites you to get familiar with a strategic game called "sprouts". The game is simple enough for younger children to understand, and has also provided experienced mathematicians with. . . .
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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.
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Who said that adding couldn't be fun?
A game for 2 players that can be played online. Players take it in turns to select a word from the 9 words given. The aim is to select all the occurrences of the same letter.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
An old game but lots of arithmetic!
A game that tests your understanding of remainders.
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
Throw the dice and decide whether to double or halve the number. Will you be the first to reach the target?
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
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 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
Match the halves.
A game to make and play based on the number line.
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.
A train building game for 2 players.
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 square...
Who said that adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing
couldn't be fun?
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
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.
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?
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?
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your opponent.