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 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.
Gillian Hatch analyses what goes on when mathematical games are
used as a pedagogic device.
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 activity based on the game 'Pelmanism'. Set your own level of challenge and beat your own previous best score.
Take turns to place a decimal number on the spiral. Can you get three consecutive numbers?
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.
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
Throw the dice and decide whether to double or halve the number. Will you be the first to reach the target?
Try this matching game which will help you recognise different ways of saying the same time interval.
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 players. This could be played outside with people instead of counters. Try to trap or escape from your opponent.
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
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, 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.
A fun puzzle with tantrix tiles.
A game for 1 person. Can you work out how the dice must be rolled from the start position to the finish? Play on line.
A game for two people, or play online. Given a target number, say 23, and a range of numbers to choose from, say 1-4, players take it in turns to add to the running total to hit their target.
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
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.
A game for two players on a large squared space.
Match the halves.
A game to make and play based on the number line.
Use your addition and subtraction skills, combined with some strategic thinking, to beat your partner at this game.
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.
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.
An old game but lots of arithmetic!
Can you spot the similarities between this game and other games you know? The aim is to choose 3 numbers that total 15.
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 is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
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 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.
Interactive game. Set your own level of challenge, practise your table skills and beat your previous best score.
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 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. . . .
Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some of
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
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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 somewhat similar to 'noughts and crosses' on a much larger
A game for 1 person to play on screen. Practise your number bonds
whilst improving your memory
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?
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
A game for two players. You'll need some counters and somewhere to draw a board.
This is an adding game for two players.
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.