Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
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.
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. . . .
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...
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
A train building game for 2 players.
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 spot the similarities between this game and other games you know? The aim is to choose 3 numbers that total 15.
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.
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
A game that tests your understanding of remainders.
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
An old game but lots of arithmetic!
Spiralling Decimals game for an adult and child. Can you get three decimals next to each other on the spiral before your partner?
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 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.
Match the halves.
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
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.
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.
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
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.
There are nasty versions of this dice game but we'll start with the nice ones...
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
A game to make and play based on the number line.
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.
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
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?
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
Train game for an adult and child. Who will be the first to make the train?
Four Go game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have four numbers in a row on the number line?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
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.
Got It game for an adult and child. How can you play so that you know you will always win?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Board Block game for two. Can you stop your partner from being able to make a shape on the board?
Stop the Clock game for an adult and child. How can you make sure you always win this game?
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.
Shut the Box game for an adult and child. Can you turn over the cards which match the numbers on the dice?
Incey Wincey Spider game for an adult and child. Will Incey get to the top of the drainpipe?
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Strike it Out game for an adult and child. Can you stop your partner from being able to go?
In this game for two players, the aim is to make a row of four coins which total one dollar.