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 for 1 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.
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.
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. . . .
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
Here are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
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 simple game of patience which often comes out. Can you explain
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.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the run-up to Christmas.
A game for two players on a large squared space.
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
A card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the
numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
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.
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?
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
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.
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 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.
Collect as many diamonds as you can by drawing three straight lines.
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.
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.
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...
Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
Use the tangram pieces to make our pictures, or to design some of
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the
run-up to Christmas.
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
A Sudoku with a twist.
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
A game to make and play based on the number line.
This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?