Tag Archives: math games

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.

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



Sidewalk Chalk Meets Math Game Part 2: Testing the Limits

All right folks…

If you’re outside (or wish you were!) here’s another math game worth playing. It’s called Testing the Limits — and I’ve adapted it from BEAM Maths of the Month.

e19f8cd76d18a106e6e21e3909f37841This version is adaptable for all grade levels and can be played outside with sidewalk chalk (or indoors on paper!).

To play, you need sidewalk chalk and a die (6-sided is fine, 10-sided is better!). You can play this game with a partner or alone.  Here’s how…

ROUND 1: Roll the die 3 times and make a 3-digit number. Roll 3 more times and make a second 3 digit number. Put both numbers on the same number line. These are your “limits”.

ROUND 2: Now roll 6 more times. Make 2 different 3-digit numbers that fit within the limits from ROUND 1.  Plot them on the same number line as ROUND 1. If you can do it, these new numbers become your new limits and you can move onto ROUND 3.  If not… the game is over! Check out my sample game below.

Try using just two 2-digit numbers for younger students,  or even decimal numbers for older students. Consider trying this with negative numbers, or even one negative and one positive to explore both sides of zero.

Enjoy!  Stay safe…


Check out my online store for more free materials and problem-of the day resources!

Screen Shot 2020-03-27 at 5.27.26 PM


Teaching Addition and Subtraction in Grades 2 & 3

Happy New Year, Everyone!

2and 3 cover

I am pleased to announce the release of my latest resource,  Sums and Differences – Teaching Addition and Subtraction in Grades 2&3.  This teacher resource is matched to the WNCP curriculum and addresses the operations of addition and subtraction  to 100 for grade 2 and to 100o for grade 3.  Designed to be used by teachers of combined grades – or by anyone who has a range of learners in their classrooms – these lesson sequences focus on the big math ideas of adding and subtracting!  Each lesson asks students to engage with place value in concrete, pictorial and abstract ways, while practicing and developing fluency with the operations.  Word problems, games and written practice are included to ensure students hone their skills and deepen their understanding of addition and subtraction with bigger numbers.

The resource includes all the line masters, game boards, written practice and teaching materials required to support your students in becoming proficient with addition and subtraction in ways that are consistent with the curriculum and which promote number sense.

This 220 page resource is just $40 plus shipping. Click here to order!

PS – The companion resource for grades 1&2 is also available for purchase. Read about it by clicking here.

PPS – My sincere apologies.  I have discovered 2 errors in the book. One comes on page 167, in the game called “Three in a Line – Subtracting hundreds, tens and ones”.  The wheel at the top of the page and the differences below don’t match. 😦  I’ve attached the replacement game here for you.

Three in a line HTO game NEW

Likewise, I’ve had some feedback about the “I have…, Who has…?” game in the early pages of the resource.  I’ve re-created it and uploaded the replacement here.

“I have, who has” game NEW

Thanks for your patience and understanding…



Falling Leaves… Matching numerals to sets for kindergarten

Hello all…

I thought I’d post an autumn-themed game on the blog this week for my colleagues in kindergarten.  The game is called Falling Leaves, and it’s based on a game from the BEAM website.  In my version of the game, students start with 15 unifix or stacking cubes in their own colour.  To begin, Player 1 rolls a regular 6-sided die and puts a cube on the leaf with that numeral. Then Player 2 has a turn. If there is already a cube in that leaf, students stack their cube on top of the one that’s there, to make a tower.

At the end of the game (when all of the cubes are used up), players scan to see which of the towers has their colour on the top.  Those towers are collected and snapped together.  The player with the tallest tower wins!

In this game, pink is playing green. Green collects all the towers with green on top.  Pink collects all of the towers with pink on top.


Stacked together, it’s clear to see that pink wins!

Enjoy… And happy fall!


Falling leaves


Mental Math Game – Grades 3 and up

I came across an interesting game today in my perpetual on-line search for quality math games that promote thinking. It’s called Mission 211 – Mental Maths.

A video transmission from mission control’s Caleb explains the tasks at hand.  You must answer mental math questions as quickly as you can in order to collect biofuel rods and foil the evil roboids..!!  Best of all, Caleb provides strategies for solving the problems, if you need his help.  The strategies include “counting on”, “breaking down numbers” and “rounding” – what we might call compensation or friendly numbers.

The music and the heartbeat in the background (yes, really!) create a sense of urgency, and encourage you to complete the questions as quickly as you can.  If you need help, pressing the “HINT” button produces a mental math strategy to one side of the screen.  It’s a super helpful scaffold, and one that helps to make the numbers meaningful.  As you progress through the game, there are true or false multiplication and division questions as well – a nice blend of methods and ways of presenting content.

I like it!

Now – back to the game.  I’ve got some evil roboids to destroy.  🙂


PS – Play the game in FULL SCREEN MODE to avoid silly advertising