3 Favourite Math Games

One of my math centres every week is a game. Games encourage students to use the skills we are focusing on in a fun, relaxed and real way. They have the opportunity to use a math skill in a real way and practice without really realizing they are doing so.

We are currently working on the following learning outcomes:

  • Say the number sequence between any two given numbers forward and backward
  • Describe and apply mental mathematics strategies for adding two 2-digit numerals
  • Demonstrate an understanding of addition and subtraction of numbers
  • Apply mental math strategies to determine addition facts and related subtraction facts

Here are my 3 favourite math games:

1. Make a Splash 120 Mat

Here my students are exploring the 120 board and collaboratively deciding on a game to play. I find if they have time to explore a new resource in their own way they are much better able to focus on a structured game. They then shared their method for gameplay and we discussed what they are learning through the game. Most did choose to roll and race to 120.

The next game they will be playing will be more structured. Exploring the Missing Addend (found in the activity guide) asks students to:

  1. Roll the two number dice to create a two digit number
  2. Frame the number on the mat
  3. Roll another two digit number
  4. Frame the second number on the mat
  5. Explore the difference by counting up on the 120 grid
  6. Remind students to use the language “__ is __ more than ___”. This is the language they have been using in their number of the day activities.

The games in the activity guide included are easy to understand and cover many learning outcomes we are currently working on. Here is the lowdown on the Make a Splash 120 Mat:

A fresh take on a mat that has been around for a while, the Make a Splash 120 Mat is so versatile for many different number concepts. The large 1.2m x 1.4m (48″ x 56″) vinyl activity mat with a large, colourful 120 chart printed on the mat is perfect for classes to make a circle around. From this vantage, number talks or demonstrations are easily viewed by all students in the class. Grades 1+.

2. Mobi

This game took me a few minutes to figure out but took my students no time at all! It may be because they are familiar with Bananagrams. We did watch a quick ‘how to‘ from the makers of Mobi and explained the basic rules with a whole class demonstration. This helped students have a basic understanding before playing. Mobi Kids is a great choice for younger students as it focuses on addition and subtraction without the multiplication and division operators. or you can do what I did and remove the multiplication and division tiles because we are focusing on addition and subtraction at the moment.

As our groups were 5 or six players, each player started with 5 tiles. Students understood the concept of building equations but some struggled to connect them into a pod.

Others got the pod concept but needed reminding to check the order of their operation tiles.

The excitement when “flip” was called was an incentive to really focus and the option to “swap” gives freedom to continue building.

It is exciting to see groups so enthusiastic to practice their instant recall of addition and subtraction facts. Here is the lowdown on Mobi:

Möbi is a fun, fast-paced game that encourages children to play with and love numbers. The goal of the game is to make simple math equations ((+, -, =, x, /) as quickly as possible and connect them in crossword style grids. Be the first to connect all your tiles and you win! 1-6 players. Ages 7+.

Mobi Kids Introduce little ones to numbers with this simple and fun number game! Players connect all their number tiles in a grid using operation tiles. The first player to connect all their tiles wins! Includes 38 Number Tiles (1-10) and 48 Operation Tiles (+, -, =). 1-4 Players. Ages 4+.

3. Dice

My last favourite math game is a bit of a cheat… it is different types of dice. When you have a good set of dice you can play so many games. I particularly like:

Double Dice Bucket because having a die in a die results in less dice needed and they are fun!

10-sided Dice in Dice are great for when you need bigger numbers or for place value games. If you don’t want to pull out place value dice you can use these and make numbers up to 99. Add another dice in dice and you are working up to 9999, grade 4 level numbers.

We use these dice for group, paired and individual games often pairing with a write and wipe pocket and a dry erase marker. Adding a dice makes everything more fun!

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