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.
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.
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. . . .
A game to make and play based on the number line.
Match the halves.
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 2 or more players with a pack of cards. Practise your
skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to hit
the target score.
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
A game for two players on a large squared space.
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?
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 card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
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.
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.
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 game for 1 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.
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 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...
Can you spot the similarities between this game and other games you know? The aim is to choose 3 numbers that total 15.
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
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?
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. . . .
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
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.
Here are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the run-up to Christmas.
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?
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.
In this game for two players, the idea is to take it in turns to choose 1, 3, 5 or 7. The winner is the first to make the total 37.
Take turns to place a decimal number on the spiral. Can you get three consecutive numbers?
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.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
An old game but lots of arithmetic!
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?