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. . . .
A game for 2 players with similaritlies to NIM. Place one counter on each spot on the games board. Players take it is turns to remove 1 or 2 adjacent counters. The winner picks up the last counter.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios or fractions.
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary
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.
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.
This second Sudoku article discusses "Corresponding Sudokus" which are pairs of Sudokus with terms that can be matched using a substitution rule.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the
numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
A Sudoku with a twist.
Match the cards of the same value.
All you need for this game is a pack of cards. While you play the
game, think about strategies that will increase your chances of
This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?
Can you identify the mathematicians?
A game for 2 players. Set out 16 counters in rows of 1,3,5 and 7. Players take turns to remove any number of counters from a row. The player left with the last counter looses.
A Sudoku that uses transformations as supporting clues.
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...
Everthing you have always wanted to do with dominoes! Some of these games are good for practising your mental calculation skills, and some are good for your reasoning skills.
This sudoku requires you to have "double vision" - two Sudoku's for
the price of one
A Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
A game for 2 people. Take turns to move the counters 1, 2 or 3
spaces. The player to remove the last counter off the board wins.
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
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
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.
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.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
Board Block game for two. Can you stop your partner from being able to make a shape on the board?
Four Go game for an adult and child. Will you be the first to have four numbers in a row on the number line?
A game to make and play based on the number line.
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
Square It game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
This is a challenging game of strategy for two players with many interesting variations.
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. . . .
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.
Spiralling Decimals game for an adult and child. Can you get three decimals next to each other on the spiral before your partner?
A simple game of patience which often comes out. Can you explain
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
Start with any number of counters in any number of piles. 2 players
take it in turns to remove any number of counters from a single
pile. The winner is the player to take the last counter.