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, 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. . . .
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 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 simple game of patience which often comes out. Can you explain
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 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 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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. . . .
Here are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the run-up to Christmas.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
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.
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the
numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
A shape and space game for 2,3 or 4 players. Be the last person to be able to place a pentomino piece on the playing board. Play with card, or on the computer.
A card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
In this matching game, you have to decide how long different events take.
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.
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
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?
A game for two players on a large squared space.
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
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.
Collect as many diamonds as you can by drawing three straight lines.
Can you spot the similarities between this game and other games you know? The aim is to choose 3 numbers that total 15.
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 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.
Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary
Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some of
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
A train building game for 2 players.
A Sudoku with a twist.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
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.
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
An interactive activity for one to experiment with a tricky tessellation
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
A game to make and play based on the number line.