Math Games

I apologize for waiting so long to write another post! I have just been so busy wrapping up everything before Spring Break and then exhausted from all the hard work!

So, onto the good stuff! Our district's math coordinator came to talk to us yesterday about using math games to enhance student learning in the classroom. I learned some really great games for all grade levels, so those of you kindergarten and first grade teachers can actually use something from me!

1. Roll and Write (K-2)
Materials: 2 dice or number cubes, pencil/paper
  • Player(s) roll two number cubes.
  • Write two number sentences using the numbers rolled. (For kindergarten, have them verbalize the number sentence.)
  • Circle the number you counted on from.
  • Explain why you counted on from the number you did. (Students should start to catch on that you count on from the larger number.
2. Shake and Spill (K-2)
Materials: 1 cup or a pair of cups, 1 set of two-colored counters or a pair, 2 colored markers (1 red/1 yellow), paper
  • Students divide their paper to look like a large tic-tac-toe grid.
  • Assign different combination target numbers to each pair, depending on what they can handle. For example, you might want some children to work on combinations of five counters while others are working on combinations of 10.
  • Encourage students to predict what they think they'll see when they shake and spill the counters.
  • Have the children begin their shaking and spilling. They record the number of red counters face up and the number of yellow counters that are face up and write it as a number sentence across the top of the tic-tac-toe grid. For example (7 yellow + 3 red = 10 counters)
Race for a Dollar (1-3)
Materials: no more than 30 pennies, 5-6 dimes and nickels, a few quarters, 1 dollar bill, 1 pair of dice
  • Player 1 rolls the 2 dice, finds the sum of the two numbers, and takes the corresponding amount of money in coins of his/her choice.
  • Player 1 decideds if he/she wants to make any trades and then passes the dice to player 2, who repeats the steps.
  • The first person to get coins worth $1.00 wins.
  • You and your students can decide on the rule for ending the game. Possibilities include requiring a roll that gives the winner exactly $1.00 or a roll that gives $1.00 or more.
Spill the Beans (2-3)
Materials: gameboard, 1 cup, 2 beans, paper, pencil
  • Put the two beans in a cup.
  • The first player spills the beans onto the game board.
  • The player adds the numbers the beans landed on. If a bean lands on a line, it can be thrown again.
  • The player subtracts the answer from 50 using scratch paper if needed. For your challenge students, make them use mental math. (For example: The player spills the beans onto a 5 and a 2. The player says the sum is 7 and then subtracts that number from 50. 5-7=43.
  • After each player spills the beans, his or her answer is subtracted from their last number on the score sheet.
  • Players take turns spilling beans and subtracting until one player reaches zero.
  • Variations: Play with 100 point spill the beans. Begin the game by subtracting from 100. Or how about a 3-bean game? Throw 3 beans and add the numbers together, then subtract from 100.
Digit Game (K)
Materials: number cards 0-9, 2 of each
  • One player shuffles the deck and places it with the numbers face down on the playing surface between the players.
  • Each player draws 2 cards from the deck and uses them to make the largest number possible.
  • The player who makes the larger number takes all the cards.
  • The game is over when all of the cards have been used.
  • The player with more cards wins.
  • Variation: Players try to make the smallest number possible each time. The player who makes the greater number takes all of the cards. The player with fewer cards at the end wins.
What games do you use in your classrooms to enhance math?

1 comment:

  1. I am a Middle School Math Teacher and I created a new free online math games site called


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