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.
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.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
A Sudoku with a twist.
This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
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 shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
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 complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
A train building game for 2 players.
Practise your diamond mining skills and your x,y coordination in this homage to Pacman.
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
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 2 players. Given an arrangement of matchsticks, players
take it is turns to remove a matchstick, along with all of the
matchsticks that touch it.
A game in which players take it in turns to try to draw
quadrilaterals (or triangles) with particular properties. Is it
possible to fill the game grid?
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 card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
Can you be the first to complete a row of three?
This is a game for two players. You will need some small-square
grid paper, a die and two felt-tip pens or highlighters. Players
take turns to roll the die, then move that number of squares in. . . .
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.
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
Can you spot the similarities between this game and other games you know? The aim is to choose 3 numbers that total 15.
A simple game of patience which often comes out. Can you explain
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.
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
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.
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
Some Games That May Be Nice or Nasty for an adult and child. Use your knowledge of place value to beat your oponent.
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.
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.
Take turns to place a decimal number on the spiral. Can you get three consecutive numbers?
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?
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?
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
Spiralling Decimals game for an adult and child. Can you get three decimals next to each other on the spiral before your partner?
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
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?
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the run-up to Christmas.
Here are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?