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.
Not all of us a bursting with creative game ideas, but there are
several ways to go about creating a game that will assist even the
busiest and most reluctant game designer.
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. . . .
In this game you throw two dice and find their total, then move the appropriate counter to the right. Which counter reaches the purple box first? Is this what you would expect?
A variant on the game Alquerque
A fun game for two. You'll need some counters.
You'll need two dice to play this game against a partner. Will Incey Wincey make it to the top of the drain pipe or the bottom of the drain pipe first?
Design your own scoring system and play Trumps with these Olympic Sport cards.
A shunting puzzle for 1 person. Swop the positions of the counters at the top and bottom of the board.
A number card game for 2-6 players.
A game for 2 players. Draw a daisy with at least 5 petals. Shade 1 or 2 petals next to each other. The winner shades the last petal.
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
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 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.
Reasoning based on this Japanese activity.
A game for 2 players. This could be played outside with people instead of counters. Try to trap or escape from your opponent.
A game for 2 people that everybody knows. You can play with a
friend or online. If you play correctly you never lose!
A complicated game played on a 9 x 9 checkered grid.
Can you make the birds from the egg tangram?
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 played with a standard pack of cards.
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.
The idea of this game is to add or subtract the two numbers on the dice and cover the result on the grid, trying to get a line of three. Are there some numbers that are good to aim for?
A game for 2 players. Using 2 dice, some counters and a games board, can you form a line of counters from one side of the board to the other?
Here are a collection of games from around the world to try during the holidays or the last few weeks of term.
A game for two players. You'll need some counters.
Advent Calendar 2010 - a mathematical game for every day during the run-up to Christmas.
Totality game for an adult and child. Be the first to reach your agreed total.
Board Block Challenge game for an adult and child. Can you prevent your partner from being able to make a shape?
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?
Match the halves.
Work out the fractions to match the cards with the same amount of
A game to make and play based on the number 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.
A card pairing game involving knowledge of simple ratio.
Spiralling Decimals game for an adult and child. Can you get three decimals next to each other on the spiral before your partner?
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.
Stop the Clock game for an adult and child. How can you make sure you always win this game?
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.
Incey Wincey Spider game for an adult and child. Will Incey get to the top of the drainpipe?
A train building game for 2 players.
Here is a version of the game 'Happy Families' for you to make and
A fun puzzle with tantrix tiles.
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.
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?