Here is a collection of math games for your classroom that will engage and motivate your students. The games are varied for age groups and can be modified to address the needs in your own classroom. Students learn to strategically think and problem solve all the while enjoying some friendly competition.
A game of facts, probability and students always argue luck!
The object of the game is to collect the most points. The word SKUNK represents the rounds of the game (5 in total).
How to play:
Have all students stand up, and you as the teacher will roll a pair of die. The outcome of the roll has different consequences. You will need to pre determine if the points are tabulated using multiplication facts or addition facts. Therefore when you roll, the outcome of 2 & 3 could have a point value of 5 or 6. You as a teacher will keep rolling as long as you have students that wish to continue the round. After each roll ask students if they wish to continue. If they do, then they keep standing. If they don’t then they will sit and you will record how many points they have. There are two snags in this game. 1) If you roll any combination of 7 (1&6, 2&5, 3&4), then students will lose their points in that round. This is assuming that player is still standing. 2) If you roll a snake eyes (1&1), then all players standing will lose the points in that round and all previous rounds. This is where the luck factor comes in!
Also, the round ends when snake eyes is rolled or all students are sitting.
I have played this game and it re enforces basic math facts with students. Have their total recorded for each round and have students tally their totals after each round.
You can set up bingo cards that reinforce any of your math concepts. From addition, to probability words, to factoring and algebraic expressions the possibilities are endless. I have found a website that already provides Math Bingo Cards (http://www.bingocardcreator.com/bingo-cards/math) and you can visit https://www.bingocardcreator.com/users/registration to create your own using a free trial period!
Number of Students: 2
Materials: Two dice, game board, markers (as in chips, place holders)
PDF of game board https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9yPTpU_HiELMzIxNjFiM2YtZjY4YS00NzViLTg1YmItY2NiMmRhNGU2ODMw/edit?pli=1
How to Play:
1. Students cover all 12 spots of their side of the game board with a marker of some sort.
2. Students take turns rolling the dice.
3. They may use any operation to get answers.
4. The object is to be the first player to remove all the markers off their side of the board.
How Long? How Many?
Math skills: This two-person game involves probability and strategy, and gives children experience with multiplication in a geometric context.
The object: to make rectangular arrays with Cuisenaire Rods and place them on 10-by-10-centimeter grids until no more space is available. The game encourages students to think strategically as they consider where to place their rectangles to avoid being blocked.
How to play: students need Cuisenaire Rods, one die, and a grid sheet for each (Make a 10cm x 10cm grid. Also leave space for students to record how many of their squares are covered and uncovered.) The rules are:
1. On his or her turn, a player rolls the die twice to determine which Cuisenaire Rods to take. The first roll tells “how long” a rod to use. The second roll tells “how many” rods to take.
2. Players arrange their rods into a rectangle, place it on their grid, and trace it. They write the multiplication sentence inside.
3. The game is over when one player can’t place a rectangle because there’s no room on the grid. Then players figure out how many of their squares are covered and how many are uncovered and check each other’s answers.
After students have had experience playing the game, talk with them about strategies for placing rectangles and figuring out their final scores.
Adapted from Instructor, April 1994.
Jenga for Addition and Multiplication
We all know how to play Jenga. Stack those blocks on top of each other. Remove the block one at a time without toppling over the rest. Well, in this version (either addition or multiplication), each block has a sentence strip that has been attached to it. When a player successfully removes the block from the stack, he or she must answer the question. If answered correctly, then that is the amount of points collected and recorded. If not answered correctly, then no points are awarded. When the stack falls that’s the end of collecting points. Visit http://www.classroomfreebies.com/2012/03/math-facts-jenga-for-addition-and.html for free labels for the blocks!
This is a game designed to reinforce basic coordinate point skills in a fun way. With two different game formats to choose from (single quadrant and all four quadrants), it’s a game that can be played across a wide range of grades and ages. I found this game from the Positive Engagement Project Website and you can click on this linked PDF for the game! Hope you enjoy!
The Chosen One (Integers Game)
I personally love this game as it was one I used to play as a child. It works well, and kids to ensure the other isn’t “cheating” will definitely mentally calculate.
Players: Up to four players
Materials: Deck of cards, Ace worth 11, Jack worth 12, Queen worth 13, King worth 14, scratch paper
Skill: Adding positive and negative integers
How to Play: The goal of the game is to reach a total of one by adding and subtracting.
Deal 2 cards to each player.
Player one plays a card, states its value and immediately picks up another (*players must hold 2 cards at all times.) The value can be positive or negative (eg. if playing a 5, then either it is +5 or –5)
Player two plays and adds or subtracts card 1 [the +/- 5 and card 2 (eg. 6)]
Player two can add to make 11 or subtract to make –1. Play continues until a positive 1 is made.
The player who makes positive 1 wins the stack of cards. Play continues until all cards are played. The player with the most cards wins.
Make it Texas Size!
Players: Individual or in groups of two
Materials: Deck of cards with the face cards and 10s removed, Ace worth one, Paper for each students to create the number and record
Skill: Place value and comparing numbers
How to Play: You decide up to what place value students should be working with. This is a game of chance and reasoning in which the players are trying to create the largest number possible. The players must think carefully where to place each card. Once a card is placed it cannot be moved.
Students deal out six cards face down (or more if you are playing with larger place values). They can shuffle those cards for an even further mix up, but no peeking. The first player flips over one card at a time and decides where to place it to form the largest number possible. They can discard the card if they feel it will not help in creating a large number. The game is continued until they can complete their number and the other player has completed theirs as well. Once complete players will compare numbers and decide who created the larger number. Next each opposite player will give one piece of advice to the other as to how their opponent could have created a greater number. (http://pepnonprofit.org/uploads/2/7/7/2/2772238/acing_math.pdf)
Make it Rhode Island Size!
Players: Individual or in groups of two
Materials: Deck of cards with the face cards and 10s removed, Ace worth one
Skill: Place value and comparing numbers
How to Play: This is the exact same as Make it Texas Size but the reverse. Here players are trying to create the smallest possible number with their cards. Follow the exact same directions keeping in mind that a small number must be created.
Prime and Composite Lines
This is another fantastic game prepared by www.pepnonprofit.org! Here students will need to identify and recognize prime and composite numbers after rolling a die and using a game board. The object is to mark four numbers on the board (a straight line) before the other player does. Follow these instructions. I cannot wait to use this one in my classroom!
Materials: Game board, dice (preferable one 20 or more sided die), 2 sets of colored game board markers.
Game Objective: The game is won by making a straight line of 4 in a row. First person or team to do this wins the game.
Skill Objective: Allow students to practice the concepts of prime numbers and composite numbers in a fun, engaging, and meaningful fashion.
How to play:
1. Display the game board on an overhead projector (or give to each group playing the game).
2. Decide who will go first by rolling the dice (highest roll wins choice to go first or defer).
3. Player 1 rolls the dice and has to determine if the number they rolled is a prime number or a composite number and tell their opponent. If they identify the number correctly, they can then mark ANY ONE number on the game board that matches the type of number rolled (prime or composite). Player 1 IS NOT REQUIRED to mark the same exact number that was rolled. Player 1 can choose any prime number or composite number on the board. If the player incorrectly identifies the number on the dice (i.e.: says it’s a prime number when it is actually a composite number) or fails to correctly mark the same type of number on the game board, they lose their turn, thus not placing a marker on the game board, and it is the next player’s turn at this point.
4. It is now Player 2’s turn. Player 2 repeats Step 3.
5. Players alternate turns until one player successfully completes a straight line of 4 in a row. The line can go in any direction but MUST be straight. The first player to complete a straight line of 4 in a row wins the game.
1. When a player rolls a prime number, that player must say “prime number to identify the type of number to their opponent.
2. When a player rolls a composite number, that person must say “composite number” to identify the type of number to their opponent and give factors other than 1 times the number to get the product, thus proving their answer.
3. It is the responsibility of the opposing player to make sure the answer is correct. If the rolling player incorrectly identifies the rolled number or incorrectly places a marker on the board and the opposing player does not catch it before making their next roll, the play stands and the game continues. However, if the rolling player incorrectly identifies or incorrectly marks a number and the opposing player catches it before the next roll, the rolling player loses their turn and does not place a marker on the game board. It is important that BOTH PLAYERS pay attention at all times to avoid mistakes or bluffs.
4. Allowing students to “bluff” is up to the teacher. Students will quickly find out that bluffing can be very risky since they will lose their turn if they are “caught” bluffing.
Here is the game board: http://pepnonprofit.org/uploads/2/7/7/2/2772238/prime_and_composite_lines.pdf
Around the world
Have flash cards set up for your classroom. These could be multiplication or division facts, reducing fractions, metric conversions, or any other topic your class has studied. Select 2 beginning contestants. You can have them up at the board so they can work out their answers if need be. The first person who answers correctly gains one point. The winner stays on to take on the next contestant, while the loser sits back down. Ensure that everyone has a chance. No one loses any points; rather they only gain points when they win the challenge. The contestant with the most points wins. You can play this for a specified amount of time or as long as you have cycled through everyone.
This addictive game can truly help students develop logic, problem solving and deductive reasoning skills. Each square has a solution. It is created with 81 boxes (in total on a 9×9 grid) where each column, row and 3×3 inner box must have the numbers 1 to 9 inserted and never repeated. For younger students there are the 4×4 grids (filling numbers in 1 to 4) and 6×6 grids (filling numbers in 1 to 6).
Create a large one for the whole class, and work on it, slowly demonstrating and then gradually releasing. Before a number is inserted as a solution, the student must justify the move in order for the class to approve the insertion of that number. This could also be created on a smart board where you can bring it up whenever there is class time available.
This can lend itself as a whole class game or as group challenges. You could provide the same puzzle to groups and the group to finish first wins.
If you are looking for Sudoku puzzles with solutions, there are many online. Note that there are basic puzzles to very advanced ones. Therefore one must really practice in order to develop this skill. Here is a site I refer to often. http://www.mathinenglish.com/Sudoku.php