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Math Games

Math Jeopardy
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Draw a jeopardy grid on the board with progressive dollar amounts in each column. Make a list of math questions and answers to correspond with each dollar amount and column. Divide the class into teams. Pick a team to go first and select a category and dollar amount. Give the answer associated with the selected square. Add the dollar amount to the score of the first team who asks the correct question that corresponds with the answer. Math jeopardy works best for reviewing math concepts. For example, the answer you give might be 3.14159265, and the student would have to ask "What is pi?" to earn the dollar amount.

Math Board Games


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Make custom math board games for classroom use. Use old game boards, or make your own on a square of cardboard. Make cards with math problems and an associated number of squares to move if the question is answered correctly. Students will take turns drawing a card, solving the math problem and moving the corresponding spaces on the board. Add more cards as new math concepts are learned. Save the old cards for review.

Math Race
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Divide the class into two teams. Ask one student from each team to come to the board. Give the two students a math problem to solve. The students race each other to solve the math problem first. Award a point to the team of the student who correctly answers the math problem first. Repeat the process with the next person from each team.

Student-Created Games
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Assign your students the task of creating math games for practice and review. Divide the class into small groups. Require each group to develop a game that can be used for a specific concept or one that can be adapted for many types of math problems. Ask students to provide a list of rules and any game pieces necessary to play the games. Assign each group a day of the week to teach their math game.

Easy Math Games Using Dice


You can use dice to teach primary math games such as counting, sorting, making simple sums and number matching.

Math games using dice for older students can include working with place value, writing multiplication sentences and exploring probability.

Here are easy primary math games using dice for any classroom! Pig: Mental Addition and Critical Thinking The goal of Pig is to be the first player to get to 100. The game is played with a pair of dice, and requires a paper and pencil for scoring. 1. The first player rolls the dice, calculates the sum (mentally), then rolls again if he or she wants to. The next sum is added to the first. The player can roll as often as s/he wants to before play goes to the next turn. However... 2. If a 1 comes up on one of the dice before the player decides to stop rolling, the player scores 0 for that round. The play goes to the next player. 3. Worse still, if a 1 comes up on both of the dice, the turn ends and the player's entire total falls to 0. Lead a class discussion about strategies used in Pig and how opponents need to be able to use mental math to check that the roller is playing fairly. Going to Boston: Math Facts This game requires three dice and pencil & paper. In one turn, the first player rolls all three dice. The highest roll is put aside. The next two dice are rolled and the highest number is put aside again. The last dice is rolled, then all three dice are added together. The winner is whoever gets to a predetermined amount first, such as 100. Variations on the game are adding the first two dice and multiplying the sum by the third; using any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division to get the highest number possible, or just using two dice to practice basic math facts (addition, subtraction or multiplication). Number Sense Call Out These teacher-led math games using dice work on math vocabulary.

Using overhead dice or large foam dice, the teacher rolls two numbers. A series of questions follows each roll:

Write the sum in word form. What is the difference of the two numbers? Make a fraction using the lower digit as the numerator. What is ten more than the product of the two digits? Show the sum of the digits as a picture. Draw an array/set to show the product of the digits. Write the numbers between the two digits.

Array Arrangement: Multiplication Using a pair of dice, the students are to draw the product on graph paper as a rectangular array.

For example, if a 4 and a 3 are rolled, that means 4 x 3 = 12. The array is drawn as 4 rows and 3 columns, to make a rectangle. Each time a square number is drawn, let the students color it in red. Label each array with the number sentence it goes with. Race to 1000: Addition and Number Sense This game requires a pair of dice, base ten blocks and a place-value chart up to 1000. The goal is to be the first player to get as close as possible to 1000 without going over. Player 1 rolls the dice and makes a number with the base ten blocks. For example, if a 5 and a 2 are rolled, the numbers 25 or 52 could be made. The blocks are placed on the place-value math and the number is recorded on scrap paper. The next player does the same thing with his or her roll. When the play comes back to the first player, the new number is added to the first one. That means that base ten blocks will need to be regrouped to keep a running total going, along with recording the new score. There is a lot of strategy involved in this game as decisions must be made as to how to get to 1000 quickly without going over. High Roller:Number Sense Each student needs a place value mat that can be written on. This is a teacher directed activity. The goal of this activity is to build the largest number possible, whether in 10s, 100s, 1000s, or more. The teacher rolls a large die, and with every roll the students decide where to write the number on their place value mats (they cannot change it later on!). For example, if the number is to be in the 1000s, the teacher would roll 4 times and each time a digit is written down. Do a whole class check to see who wrote the largest number. Those students each get one point. At the end of the activity, whoever has a determined amount of points could get a small prize, if you wish.

Playing War and Teaching Math At the Same Time


War is a very simple and easy to learn game. In fact, any school age child can learn this game quickly. How to Play War Instructions Here is a quick run down on how to play War. The dealer will shuffle the deck and deal out a card to each player until all of the cards have been dealt. Once the deal is complete, the players will take turns flipping over their cards. In the traditional game of War, the player with the highest card wins and takes the two cards and places them on their win pile. The game continues until one player has won all of the cards in the deck. Should the two players turn over the same card they will have to go to War. When this happens, the players will deal (face down) three cards followed by one up card. The highest card wins, and that player receives the five cards from their opponent. Pretty easy huh! So how do you turn War into a Math game? Well there are a few different games you can try playing. Teaching Addition Facts with Cards If you want to teach your child an easy way to learn addition, have each player deal two cards face up. The player with the highest sum wins. Whats great about this game, is that the playing cards have the symbols which they can use as a counting guide until they are able to memorize the addition facts. (This has also helped me teach addition to a child with ADHD). Once your child has picked up adding two numbers, you can increase the difficulty level by having them turn up three cards, then four and five and add those numbers. Teaching Subtraction Facts with Cards - You can reverse the game and have them learn subtraction facts by placing two cards face up and figuring out the difference. The greatest sum wins the hand. Kids can still use the symbols on the playing cards as a guide. If for example they turn up a 7 and 5, show them how to hide the lower number on the higher ranked card (you can do this by using the other card to cover the numbers similar to the way you use the cards in a game of Euchre as counters). The two symbols still showing will give them the answer 2. Eventually they will begin to memorize the subtraction facts and will be able to answer the questions without using the cards as counters. Teaching Multiplication Facts with Cards - Teaching multiplication facts with playing cards is a bit trickier than addition or subtraction. Your child will need to have a foundation in their times tables in order to be able to answer the questions. That said, there is no reason why you cant teach them. To teach multiplication facts using this card game, simply turn up two cards and assist them with the answer. The highest sum wins the hand. Once this happens you can set a timer and who ever answers the fastest wins the hand. Another option if they are having some trouble is to use two separate decks, one for playing the game and the other as a counter for multiplying. When the child flips over two cards, for example, 7 and a 3, you would pull out three 7 cards and show them how it makes three groups of seven and what 7 x 3 means.

Other Math Games You Can Play With a Deck of Cards


Make 25 with 5 Cards This is a great game for teaching kids addition. The object of the game is to have a hand totaling 25 while using only five cards. To play, deal each child five cards face down. The remaining cards are placed in the center of the group with the top card turned up. The children will take turns picking up and discarding one card until they have reached a total sum of twentyfive. If a player has a hand totaling 25 using only five cards, they will immediately call out 25. Once a player has called out their hand, the other players will receive one more turn to complete their hands.