Tag Archives: homeschool math

Penguins! A game for the whole family

Happy Monday, all!

In a time when we find ourselves spending more time together, learning and thinking and playing together at home, I wanted to share a game that is appropriate for players of all ages.  The game “Penguins!” is strategic and fun for the whole family!

To play you’ll need 2 regular 6-sided dice and some counters.  They can be beans coloured on one side with a marker, or even some Cheerios and some Shreddies cereal. It’s a good idea to have a piece of paper and a pencil handy for calculations.

Here’s how to play (full instructions are included on the “Penguins!” game board):

Screen Shot 2020-04-19 at 8.54.30 PMRoll the dice. Look at the numbers.

Find the sum and write it down. (add the numbers)

Find the difference and write it down. (subtract one number from the other)

Find the product and write it down. (multiply the numbers)

Now decide which one of these answers (the sum, the difference or the product) you will use. You can only pick one!  Cover that number in your colour. Let your partner have a turn.  If your sum AND your difference AND your product are taken, you can cover a penguin instead! Three in a line in your colour wins the game.

Have fun!





Roll the Bigger Product Game

Hello friends.  I hope you’re well.

As we move into another week of  “school at a distance”, I’d like to offer you a game for intermediate students.  This is a game that requires a partner and a regular 6-sided die (although a 10-sided one will make things more interesting!).

Screen Shot 2020-04-19 at 8.31.37 PMFull instructions for play are on the Roll The Bigger Product game board, but the goal is to take turns placing numbers in each of the positions in the 2-digit factors to create the largest possible product. You get to discard 2 rolls — throwing them into the trashcan — to be even more strategic! When all 6 positions are filled, calculate the product and compare it to your partner’s.  The larger product wins.

To add complexity to the game, try placing decimals between both double digit factors — or harder still, within just one of the 2 factors.

Enjoy!cover Multiplicative book

For more games like this and a set of fully fleshed out lessons, see my teaching resource “Multiplicative Thinking: From Skip Counting to Algebra for Grades 3 to 8” available from my online store.

Cross Over: A game for practicing addition and subtraction

Hello all!

I’d like to share another strategic game from BEAM called Cross Over.

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 6.39.18 PMPlayers start on opposite sides of the hexagonal game board and roll a regular 6-sided die, then choose whether to add the number shown or to subtract it, moving only to touching spaces.

The goal of the game is to land on the opposing player’s start space.

As the days become warmer and drier here I am imagining a version of this game played outside on an interlocking brick driveway or a drawn with … you guessed it… sidewalk chalk.  :o)  But perhaps that’s a bit ambitious.

Regardless of how you choose to play, students working on mastering addition and subtraction will enjoy Cross Over, and the combination of strategy and luck will ensure that even older children and parents will find the game accessible and fun.




Simple Dice Games for Math Practice

Hello friends

Today marks the beginning of a new kind of school — the stay-at-home kind. More than ever we are going to need to be flexible and patient and kind to our kids, their parents and our teacher colleagues.  We are in uncharted waters… but not without good will!

I wanted to offer up a couple of simple dice games for you to play at home, to build number sense and computational fluency while having fun…

Mastering the Facts Addition 2nd ed coverFor more games like these, check out my resources entitled: Mastering the Facts Addition (2nd Edition) , Mastering the Facts Subtraction and Mastering the Facts Multiplication (2nd Edition) available from my online store.

Stay safe.  Be kind.



Reach for the Top  You can play this game alone, with a partner or against a partner. Print a copy of the Reach for the Top grid available here.

How to play: Roll two 6-sided dice. Find the sum. Write the equation in the box over the sum (or colour it in). The game is over when one of the sums reaches the top! (See the sample game below.)Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 6.31.38 PM


Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 7.38.42 PMOrder of Operations Bowling: You can play this game alone, with a partner or against a partner. You need one 6-sided die and the optional Bowling Pin recording sheet attached. The object of the game is to “knock down” all the bowling pins from 1 to 10.

How to play: Roll the die 3 times. Record the 3 numbers. Use these three numbers — in any order — to create an equation with an answer of 1. You must use all three numbers. Once you’ve found an equation (or 2 or 3!) with an answer of 1, cross off the bowling pin with the number 1 on it. Now move on to the number 2, then 3, then 4… until you have created equations with all the answers from 1 to 10. Each time you find an equation, you can knock down the pin with that number on it.

If you can knock down all 10 bowling pins with one set of numbers, you get a “strike”.  If not, roll the dice 3 more times to get a new set of numbers and continue.  Two sets of numbers earns you a “spare”. How many different operations can you use?

In the sample round below, Player A rolled a 1, a 5 and a 6.  She used all 3 numbers to create equations (a whole bunch of them!) with an answer of 1. She chooses one of the equations and knocks down the 1 pin.  She then moves on to create equations with an answer of 2.

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 7.44.19 PM