Category Archives: Games

Maths Games mostly for 2-4 players

Skill or no skill? A Game for 2 or 3 players


The winner is the player who has the highest total score at the end of a round

You Need:

  • A set of playing cards
  • A dice (or one each)
  • A spare piece of card or paper you can cut up

Before You start:

  • Agree how many score cards you will have, whether you are playing skill or no skill. Make enough score cards (about 2cm square is fine)

Example of working out your score:

If your dice says “3” and your playing card says “3d+1” then your score is 10, because 3×3+1=10

Playing “No Skill”

  • Suppose you have agreed to 5 score cards each. Deal the players 5 playing cards each, which they put in a line in front of them (no cheating!!)
  • Players take turns to roll the dice, and work out the score from the card, writing that score on the next small score card they own.
  • When everyone has finished using their cards, total up the score cards and see who won.

Playing “Skill”

  • Suppose you have 5 score cards. Agree a higher number of playing cards and deal those out.
  • Each time a player rolls their dice, they can choose which playing card to use this turn, to work out their score. Once a playing card is used it is turned over. You won’t be able to use it again.
  • You will find that some cards work well with large dice scores, some work well with smaller ones. Some cards (we called them “golden cards”) work brilliantly with sixes and can score as much as 49!!!

Making the playing cards:

It’s up to you how hard you make the algebra, but here are some ideas to get you started. You need about 20 cards.

  • 2d+1
  • d²-5
  • 4-d
  • d-3
  • (d-1)²
  • 3d+1

Game – Prime Number Recognition

You will need:

2 dice and a pen and paper.

Take in turns to:

  • Throw the dice
  • From the dice, construct 2 or perhaps 3 numbers. For example, if you throw a two and a three, you can make 5, 23 and 32 (3+2=5, two followed by three is 23 and three followed by two is 32)
  • Score one point for each prime number you have made (so this example scores one for the 5 and one for the 23, scoring two points in total).
  • If you need to use a calculator, then a Casio fx-83GT PLUS can tell you whether a number is prime. This is *not* cheating – students will soon start to recognise the primes they need, rather than having to check using the calculator!

The Winner Is:

The person who has the most points.

Things to discuss:

  • Why are two even numbers always such bad news? (even+even=even and the only even prime number is two)
  • Is it possible to score three points with one throw?
  • If there is a six in your throw, what happens?

This sample space diagram may help:

Sample Space Diagram for 2 Dice




















































A maths game using areas of rectangles

All my Primary-age pupils played this game this week. I originally created it three years ago but this week I made some pre-marked hundred squares just to save a bit of paper – by printing them smaller than 1cm squared, you can fit 6 on a page.

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 11.37.34You will need:

The winner will be the person who scores most small squares.

Do you remember how many small squares are in the 10×10 game board? That’s the same as saying “what’s the area in square centimetres”?

When it’s your turn, throw the 2 dice. I’m going to show you my moves in a particular game:

I could have drawn my rectangle anywhere, but it helps later if you try to keep things in the corners…..

I’ve drawn in two rectangles now and I must decide where to put this next throw of 1×5. Where would you put it?

Some of you preferred to count up every single square to decide the score after your turn, some of you counted them in lines (say, counting a 4×5 rectangle as 5…10….15…20 ) and some of you just said “4×5, that’s 20”. I think that depends how good your memory for tables is.

Here’s my board when I hit my first problem…

I can’t find anywhere to put this 5×6 throw, so it’s my first of three strikes…

I was lucky enough to throw a series of small numbers next, and build up my scores a bit…

But this throw was my second strike…

And this one was my third. I’m out, so I add up my score. What did I get? Here’s my opponent’s board. Who won?

Is there an easier way to work out your score?

What is the highest possible score for one rectangle?

Oh, and, what was the jam jar for? I got a bit fed up with some of you rolling the dice SO hard they rolled onto the floor, but one of you suggested we roll them INSIDE THE JAM JAR! Great idea! Well Done! A quick roll and it’s easy to see your score through the glass. Shake gently though….

PS for a whole class game, the teacher uses 2 big foam dice, and the winners are pupils who can place the rectangles in a logical way.

Understanding Plans and Elevations

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Looking for a website that helps you to learn about Plans and Elevations? And you would like to have some fun as well? Oh, and have to work out new approaches to problems which look easy at first but aren’t?

You will need:

  • Java downloaded onto your computer, and you may have to give it permission to run the first time, by right clicking the game area and looking for an appropriate menu option. **NB Macs don’t really like this website as it is rather out of date…
  • Internet connection
  • These instructions…
  • Get Stuck? Use the REPLY box on this page and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

Step 1 – understand the link between plans, elevations and a solid object

wisweb colouring in sidesClick here to play the first game which challenges you to colour in an object, based on plans and elevation views. You have to get a question right before you can go onto the next one – your score at the end is based on how many you got right at the first attempt.

Step 2 – Cube Houses

In this simple activity, you are shown a shape built from cubes and asked to draw the plans and elevations (on paper). You can click “drawing” to check whether you have drawn the correct answers. There are eight different shapes to try, on the drop-down menu.

Step 4 – Ten “cube houses” to build **BEST MATHS GAME EVER!**ten cube houses to build

Deceptively simple….

  • Whenever you click, a new cube will appear.
  • If you need to remove a cube, select “Break Down”.
  • If you manage to build a house which fits the plans and views given, you will score a YELLOW blob beside that house. If you can do it with the number of cubes specified as well, then you will score GREEN.
  • It is fine to leave a cube unsupported, hanging in the air. I can’t see a way of solving number 1 without that! Not with only 12 cubes!
  • If you manage to get the cubes correct to make the relevant plans and elevations the figure will show a YELLOW DOT.
  • To get a GREEN DOT you need to get the minimum number of cubes to create the correct plans and elevations. The minimum numbers for figures 1 to 10 are: 12,14,12,12,12,10,10,12,14,16
  • They ARE all possible honestly!

Death by Fractions – a game for 2 or 3 players

You will need 4 dice, 2 or 3 players, pen and paper each.

Start: You have 3 lives.

Each turn. Throw all 4 dice. Choose 2 of them and make the smallest fraction you can. For example, if you throw 3,3,4 and 6, the smallest fraction is 3/6 or 1/2. That is the number of lives you have to lose (by doing a subtraction).

You are dead: When the number of lives goes to zero, or goes negative. The winner is the last man standing….

Differentiation – one or all of the players may use a scientific calculator. It’s good practice in keying in fractions!

Questions to think about during the game:

  1. Who is winning? (Which is the bigger of 2 mixed numbers)
  2. How do “borrow” when you need to do so?
  3. You will need to think about common denominators. What is the largest one you may need?
  4. If you want to play a fast round, start with only 2 lives.