3Fun with Games
Objective To develop problem-solving strategies and promote mathematical skills and thinking through games.
Terms to Use rules, strategy
Materials Games from Home games children bring inMulticultural Games Project Masters (Math
Masters, pp. 6873) Mancala game counters or movers for
Kid-Made Games Project Masters (Math
Masters, pp. 7476) index cards; playing cards counters or movers; dice;
spinners (or materials to make them)
paper; cardboard; markers; stickers
Addition and Subtraction Facts Games Project Masters (Math
Masters, pp. 76A and 76B) Teaching Aid Master (Math
Masters, p. 103) Teaching Aid Masters (Math
Masters, pp. 105 and 106), or My First Math Book, Activity Sheets 1 and 2
small plate; pennies or counters; dominoes (optional)
Incorporating games into your curriculum has many benefits. Games add fun, enhance skill development, provide an incentive to learn specific skills, and encourage new thinking. Games offer rich opportunities for children to reinforce and strengthen their developing mathematics skills. While playing games, children learn to apply rules consistently, follow sequences, match actions and symbols, learn the logic of strategies, and apply their growing understanding of numbers. Many games integrate literacy skills, such as using symbols, tracking and sequencing, reading, and communicating. Children make social studies and art connections as they learn games from other countries and make their own games. Games also enhance childrens social skills as they learn teamwork and gain experience resolving conflicts.
NOTE For additional information about the use of games in Everyday Mathematics, see Section 2.2: Games in the Teachers Reference Manual. See Section 14.3.3 for information about using games for fact practice.
NOTE Games provide a strong bridge between home and school. This project encourages children to share games from home with their classmates. In addition, children should share games from school with their families. Playing mathematics games at home gives parents natural opportunities to help children apply the mathematics they are learning in school.
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Choose and develop the games ideas presented in this project to fit your classroom and teaching style. You may choose to integrate games into your ongoing schedule of activities, or you might set aside a period of time to focus more intensively on games. Consider creating a games area in the classroom where games can be played and stored. In addition to the games that are outlined here, you can find countless other game suggestions in books, on the Internet, and in stores and catalogs. Inventing your own games is strongly encouraged!
Games from HomeEncourage children to bring in favorite games from home (labeled with the childs name) to play during free time, center time, or a designated games time. Popular games, such as checkers and Go Fish may be familiar to many children. Invite children to share their games during group time. The class can discuss what they know about the game and how to play it. Help children identify mathematics skills or ideas that are necessary or helpful in playing the game. Have another discussion after children have played the game.
As children play games at school, you may want to engage the class in discussing and resolving issues such as the following:
Can unfinished games be left out to be played later? Where should they be stored? How many children can play a game at one time? Can others watch? How should we
decide whos next? (Many classrooms create sign-up sheets to track turns.) How many games should be available at one time? If conflicts occur while playing a game, how should they be resolved?
NOTE When many children have played a particular game at home, you may need to negotiate a set of school rules to avoid conflict.
Whole Group Small Group Partners Center
Project 3 Fun with Games
3 Shisima Directions
Materials gameboard 2 sets of 3 markers (Each set
should be a different color.)Players 2Skill Problem-solvingObject of the Game To get 3 water bugs in a rowDirections
1. Players decide who will move from the blackbugs and who will move from the white bugson the gameboard.
2. Players put their markers on the correct colorbugs. Each marker is a bug.
3. Players take turns moving one space alonga line to the next place where the lines meet.(One place is in the middle of the water.)No jumping over another bug!
4. Players try to get their 3 bugs in a row,crossing the middle of the water. The firstplayer with his or her 3 bugs in a row isthe winner.
5. If no one can make a new move, its a tie.
Math Masters, p. 68
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Multicultural Games(Math Masters, pp. 68-73) Introduce games from other countries and cultures to the class. Many of these games have been played for hundreds of years and are the basis for familiar modern games. Children may be interested to learn that often the same game is played in many countries with slight variations (for example, three-in-a-row games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, and distributing games, such as Mancala). Some of these games are described below.
Three-in-a-Row Games Children all over the world play versions of a game whose object is to align three marks or objects in a row. Three-in-a-row games require little equipment and can be played anywhere. These simple games are for two players. Winning involves more than just chance.
Tic-Tac-Toe is played throughout the United States. Many children are familiar with it. Review how to play, or have children teach each other.
Shisima is a three-in-a-row game from Kenya. Shisima (Shi-SEE-Mah) is a body of water in the Tiriki language. The markers are water bugs. The winner is the first to get all three water bugs in a row. To play, you need copies of Math Masters, pages 68 and 69 and three markers for each player.
Nine Holes is played all over the world and has many different names. The version on Math Masters, pages 70 and 71 originated in England. In addition to the gameboard, each player needs three markers.
Literature Link Here are just a few of the many books that describe games from around the world:
Math Games and Activities from Around the World and More Math Games and Activities from Around the World by Claudia Zaslavsky (Chicago Review Press, 1998; 2003); The Multicultural Game Book by Louise Orlando (Scholastic, 1993); Great Big Book of Childrens Games by Debra Wise (McGraw-Hill, 2003).
3 Nine Holes Directions
Materials gameboard 2 sets of 3 markers (Each set
should be a different color.)Players 2Skill Problem-solvingObject of the Game To get 3 markers in a row on the 9 intersections on the gameboard.Directions
1. Players place their 3 markers on their circlesnext to the gameboard.
2. Players take turns placing one marker onany intersection (where the lines meet) onthe board.
3. If no one has 3 markers in a row afterplacing all 3 of their markers, players tryagain from where they are on the board.They take turns moving one marker at a timefrom one intersection to an open intersectionnext to it.
4. The game is tied if no one can get 3 in a row.
Math Masters, p. 70
3 Owari Directions
Materials gameboard 2 cups 16 beans or
1. Players face each other and put thegameboard between them. They place 2beans in each square. Each player takes acup to store his or her beans.
2. Players take turns picking up the beans fromany square on their side and placing 1 beanin each square around the board until thebeans from the chosen square are gone.
3. If a players last bean lands on the otherplayers side in a square with 1 bean, theplayer whose turn it is takes both beans andputs them in his or her cup.
4. Play continues until there are no beans lefton one side of the board.
5. The winner is the player with the most beans.
Players 2Skill Problem-solvingObject of the Game To collectthe most beans
Math Masters, p. 72
Small Group Partners Center
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Distributing Games These games involve the movement of game pieces around a board according to rules. Like three-in-a-row games, many of these have multiple variations and can be played with simple materials.
Mancala has been played throughout the world for thousands of years. It has many variations, but the basic game is suitable for Kindergartners. It is usually played on a gameboard with cups. The game can be purchased or made.
Owari (Oh-WAHR-ee) is a game of sowing seeds from Ghana. It is a simple version of Mancala that can be made in class. You will need Math Masters, pages 72 and 73, and 16 small counters, such as beads or beans.
Kid-Made Games(Math Masters, pp. 74-76)Create a center with materials for making games. Use questions such as the following to help individuals or groups of children get started: What is a game? Can we make games? What do we need to think about? What materials do we need? What kind of games do you like to play? Encourage children to use numbers or other math ideas in their games, even though these games need not be exclusively about mathematics. Record childrens ideas and help them create a list of steps for making their games. For children who seem stuck, provide copies of Project Master page 76 to make a simple board game. Making a game with children can spark their ideas. The following are just two examples:
Tug of War Two children can play Tug of War using Math Masters, pages 74 and 75, a die, and a playing piece such as a penny. You can make a larger version using the master as a model.
Concentration Give each child in your class two blank cards and assign each of them a number. Children write their assigned numbers on one card, and represent their numbers with drawings or stickers on the second card. Combine the card pairs into a deck to play Concentration. (You may want to divide the card pairs into several decks, depending on the size of your class.)
Center Small Groups Partners
3 Tug of War Directions
Materials gameboard 1 marker 1 die
Players 2Skill Understand numbers and countingObject of the Game To move the playing pieceoff the ropeDirections
1. Players place the marker on the middlecircle.
2. The first player rolls the die and moves themarker that number of circles toward his orher end of the rope.
3. The second player rolls the die and movesthe marker that number toward the oppositeend.
4. Players take turns until one player moves themarker off the rope.
Math Masters, p. 74
Project 3 Fun with Games
3 Blank Gameboard
Math Masters, p. 76
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Addition and Subtraction Facts Games(Math Masters, pp. 76A and 76B; Math Masters, pp. 105 and 106 or My First Math Book, Activity Sheets 1 and 2; Math Masters, p. 103)Throughout the grades, Everyday Mathematics includes many engaging and motivating fact-practice games to lessen the need for tedious drills. Most fact games can be modified to target specific facts. The games described in this section provide opportunities for kindergarten children to practice addition and subtraction facts within 5 and to reinforce combinations of numbers with sums to 10. Introduce these games as children are ready for them, which may not be until later in the yearafter they have had time to understand the concepts of addition and subtraction and to explore and practice various strategies for solving simple addition and subtraction problems.
Top-It Facts Games In Activity 4-2, children will learn the standard version of Top-It. (You may remember the game as War.) The more advanced variations, Addition and Subtraction Top-It, described below, target addition and subtraction facts and number comparisons. Because the versions require different number cards, create and label decks for each game. You can use the appropriate number cards on Math Masters, page 105 (laminated or copied on cardstock) or the number cards from My First Math Book, Activity Sheets 1 and 2.
Addition Top-It provides practice with addition facts. To practice sums within 5 (as well as 3 + 3 = 6), create a deck that includes 4 each of number cards 03. Game directions can be found on Math Masters, page 76A.
Subtraction Top-It is similar to Addition Top-It but requires a deck with 4 each of number cards 05 to practice differences for facts within 5. Game directions can be found on Math Masters, page 76A.
NOTE You can modify Addition and Subtraction Top-It by using more or fewer number cards to target different facts. Another variation is to use dominoes instead of cards and have children add or subtract the dots on each side of the domino.
Center Small Groups Partners
Addition and Subtraction Top-It Directions
Materials 4 each of number cards 03 (+ version) 4 each of number cards 05 (- version)Players 2 to 4Skill Practice + and - facts within 5Object of the Games To collect the most cardsDirections: Addition Top-It
1. Place the shuffled deck face down. Each player turns over 2 cards and says the sum of the numbers. The player with the largest sum wins the round and takes all the cards.
2. In case of a tie, each tied player turns over 2 more cards and says the sum. The player with the largest sum takes all the cards.
3. The game ends when there are not enough cards left for each player to have another turn. The player with the most cards wins.
Directions: Subtraction Top-ItPlay like Addition Top-It, but use 05 number cards and have each player subtract the smaller number from the larger number in his/her own pair of cards. The player with the largest difference wins the round and takes the cards.
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Math Masters, p. 76A
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Complements of 10 Games These games help children learn combinations of numbers with sums to 10. These are useful facts to learn because they can serve as anchors for learning other facts and because they are important later for multidigit subtraction.
Penny Plate is played with partners. Each pair will need a small plate and 10 pennies. Game directions can be found on Math Mas...