Click on the game name to go to that game.

 Why games? Reasons for use, where to get more. Game Content The Product Game Multiplication of single digit numbers, factoring Prime Time Prime factorization, mental multiplication Take 5 Single digit addition, subtraction Change for the Better Double digit subtraction, place value Close to Zero Large number subtraction, place value, estimation Calculator Get Down Divisibility rules, large number operations

Why use games to practice skills?

1)       They are more engaging.

2)       They provide more practice.   Consider the product game:   for each move you are considering multiple multiplication problems.

3)       They are a constructive reward for use in free time in your class, in addition to whole class use.

4)       They are more likely to involve parents and other family members with homework.   Be sure to send home the instructions or rules.   Or consider hosting a night where parents can come to play with the kids.   Or pull them out at parent-teacher conferences.

5)       They can be really fun. (Duh!)

Where can you find more?

1)       Best source:   exemplary curricula.

For elementary, Investigations in Number, Data, and Space (which even includes computer games) and Everyday Math.

For middle school, Connected Math Project and MathScape (among others).

If you are lucky enough to be in a school using these curricula, use the games!   If not, you can find copies available from your district math curriculum supervisor, from university libraries (the KCRC at GVSU), or order them yourself from amazon.com.

2)       The internet, but be careful!   There are a lot of useless games out there.   On my website, there are some 2 nd /3 rd grade games that my students and I have written up.   These games in this handout are on the second page.

faculty.gvsu.edu/goldenj/sharedgames.html

faculty.gvsu.edu/goldenj/fireupgames.html

3)       Make your own.   Once you get the idea for what skill practice your students need, think of a way from them to generate problems.   This will often lead to a game structure.   Or, once you are familiar with other constructive games, adapt those to your purpose.

4)       Sharing with your colleagues.   In your school, from your college, at math meetings… don't be shy.   If you write one up that you'd like to share via internet, I'd be happy to post it.   If it's original, be sure to include a copyright with permission granted for educational use.   If it's from another source, or closely adapted from another source, please cite that source.

How do you evaluate games?

1)       Examine mathematical richness.   If the game is just window dressing for drill and kill (like math bingo) evaluate it deservingly.   Look for problem solving, need for strategy, and math content required.

2)       Is speed required?   The best games offer equal opportunity (or nearly so) to all your students.   Games that require computational speed to be successful will disenfranchise instead of engage your students who need the game the most.

3)       Do you find the game interesting or fun?   Then your students probably will also.

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 18 20 21 24 25 27 28 30 32 35 36 40 42 45 48 49 54 56 63 64 72 81

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Play begins with each player covering a factor from 1 to 9 at the bottom.   The 2 nd player then covers the product of those two numbers on the game board.   The 1 st player can then move either one of the factor numbers and covers the new product.   Play continues until a player can cover four products in a row, horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

Note:   the Product Game is used in GVSU's Math 222 course, and may have originally appeared in the Middle Grades Mathematics Project.

Game Board

50

10

6

18

15

9

27

30

105

4

70

49

35

20

8

25

14

28

42

147

21

75

175

63

45

98

12

125

2

3

5

7

2

3

5

7

2

3

5

7

# Rules

Player A covers a factor and then Player B covers a factor and the product.   Players then take turns either changing one factor or adding or removing a factor chip.   Play continues until one player has covered four in row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) or neither player will be able to.

Materials:   5 beads per player, distinct colors if possible.   1 die, or 1 for each player.

Players:   up to 5

Goal:   get to 10 beads.

Content:   simple addition facts

Gameplay:   Each player starts with 5 beads.   Everyone rolls, and the highest untied die roll goes first.   Play goes counter clockwise.

Turn:   State how many beads you have.   Roll the die, and if 1-5 take that many beads from the person with the most.   Take all the same color if possible.   On a 6 give one bead to the person with the fewest.   If two or more players are tied for the most or fewest, the active player can choose.   State how many beads you wound up with.

Questions:

1)      Observe if students are counting from 1 each time or able to count on from their previous total.

2)      Point out the groups of colors to get students to transition from counting to addition.

3)      Connect operations to addition strategies.    For example, doubles:   if I have 3 beads and I roll a 4, that’s like 3+3 and 1 more.

4)      If students are comfortable with addition, probe for connection with subtraction, such as:   Bill had 8 and you took 3, how many does that leave Bill with?

Variations:

1)      Introduce a record sheet:

### Start

5

8

Change

+3

-4

End

8

4

2)      Change the quantities to get facts between 10 and 20.   Caution:   games to 20 should start around 12 beads, and you may want to make 6’s mean take 6.

Materials:   Real coins or play money.   Enough so that each player can have 1 quarter, 2 dimes, 3 nickels and 4 pennies.

Math content:   Low double digit subtraction.

# Paid

Change

#### Cost

Gameplay:   Randomly determine who goes first.   That player puts a coin in the middle.   Play goes clockwise (to the left).   Each player puts in a coin, and is allowed to take out as much change for that coin as they can, for any amount less than the value they put in.   For example, if you put in a dime, you could take out up to nine cents.   The winner is the last person to have money.

As a tutoring activity, it is recommended that students keep track of their change.

Variations:

1)      Allow 1 dollar coin, 2 fifty cent, 3 quarters, 4 dimes, 5 nickels and 6 pennies.

2)      Have students keep track of how much money they have total.

###### Adapted from the game Fight, © James Earnest

From Mathematical Thinking in 5 th Grade

##### Investigations in Number, Data, and Space

This is a game that has many variations in the Investigations curriculum.

Math content:   place value, mental math, estimation

Materials:   a deck of number cards or playing cards with 10s, Queens and Kings removed.

Players: 2 to however many the deck supports.

Gameplay:   Deal out 6 cards to each player.   The goal is to arrange the cards as two 3 digit numbers whose difference is as close to zero as possible.   Arrange the 3 digit numbers for larger – smaller.   After doing this five times, the sum of the differences is taken, and the lowest score wins.   All cards go to the discard pile.   When out of cards, shuffle up the discard pile to deal more cards.

Variations:

1)       2 players.   Deal three cards to each player.   Players take turns going first, making a three digit number.   The other player makes the 2 nd number and scores the difference.   Note that there is perhaps a lesser amount of problem solving here, but the game feels more competitive.

2)       Deal 4 cards to each player and make two 2 digit numbers.   (Good variation for late second or third grade.)

3)       Deal an extra card so that players use all but one card to make their numbers.   Makes scores much lower.

4)       The game can be adapted to addition.   For example:   Deal 4 cards, and make two 2 digit numbers whose sum is as close to 100 as possible.   Scoring can be:   a)   the difference between the sum and 100, taken as a positive number.   (i.e. 112-100 or 100-87).   Play 5 times, add the distances from 100 and the lowest score wins. Or, b) you only score if under 100.   Over 100 means zero points.   Play 5 times, highest score wins.   Note that some deals of four cards have no sum under 100, so the five card variation can be used if you are scoring this way.

5)       Calculators can be used at some, all or no points in this game to change the pedagogical focus.

Sample Score sheet:

 ___   ___   ___   –   ___ ___ ___ = ___   ___   ___ ___   ___   ___   –   ___ ___ ___ = ___   ___   ___ ___   ___   ___   –   ___ ___ ___ = ___   ___   ___ ___   ___   ___   –   ___ ___ ___ = ___   ___   ___ ___   ___   ___   –   ___ ___ ___ = ___   ___   ___ Total:    ___   ___   ___   ___

# Calculator Get Down

I first and last saw this game in a “calculator fun book” about 30 years ago, but long ago lost track of the book and author.   (Yes, there were calculators then.   They could add, subtract, multiply and divide, and got hot if you left them on too long.)

Math content:   mental math, operations, divisibility rules.

Materials:   1 calculator

Players: 1

Gameplay:   Enter a random 6 digit number with no repeats.   Using only +, – , * and / perform operations on this number to get to zero – using only 2 digit operands, and 6 or less steps!   Ask students to keep a record.

Example:   342987.   (1) –37.   (2)/50.   (3) –59.   (4) /40. (5) –85. (6) –85.

Variations:   Don’t even get me started.

 Except where noted, © 2003, John Golden.   Permission granted for educational use. John Golden