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.
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 article supplies teachers with information that may be useful in better understanding the nature of games and their role in teaching and learning mathematics.
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 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.
Solve this Sudoku puzzle whose clues are in the form of sums of the
numbers which should appear in diagonal opposite cells.
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.
An article for teachers and pupils that encourages you to look at the mathematical properties of similar games.
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.
Slide the pieces to move Khun Phaen past all the guards into the position on the right from which he can escape to freedom.
A Sudoku that uses transformations as supporting clues.
A Sudoku with clues as ratios or fractions.
This sudoku requires you to have "double vision" - two Sudoku's for the price of one
Help the bee to build a stack of blocks far enough to save his
friend trapped in the tower.
Given the products of diagonally opposite cells - can you complete this Sudoku?
Can you identify the mathematicians?
A Sudoku with clues as ratios.
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.
Two sudokus in one. Challenge yourself to make the necessary
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.
Four numbers on an intersection that need to be placed in the
surrounding cells. That is all you need to know to solve this
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
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.
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 Sudoku with clues given as sums of entries.
A Sudoku with a twist.
Here is a solitaire type environment for you to experiment with. Which targets can you reach?
This pair of linked Sudokus matches letters with numbers and hides a seasonal greeting. Can you find it?
This second Sudoku article discusses "Corresponding Sudokus" which are pairs of Sudokus with terms that can be matched using a substitution rule.
Nim-7 game for an adult and child. Who will be the one to take the last counter?
A game for two people, who take turns to move the counters. The player to remove the last counter from the board wins.
Can you work out how to win this game of Nim? Does it matter if you go first or second?
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.
How good are you at estimating angles?
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.
A game to make and play based on the number line.
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
A train building game for 2 players.
Dicey Operations for an adult and child. Can you get close to 1000 than your partner?
Practise your diamond mining skills and your x,y coordination in this homage to Pacman.
This challenge is a game for two players. Choose two numbers from the grid and multiply or divide, then mark your answer on the number line. Can you get four in a row before your partner?
Try to stop your opponent from being able to split the piles of counters into unequal numbers. Can you find a strategy?