- Games on the Blog
- My Games Posts
- Eleusis Express
- Tiny Math Games
- Commercial Games
- Others' Games Posts
- Review Games
- Online games and interactives (separate page)
I love games in general, but also in math class. We play many games as a family and love to bring in others to play. I had the good fortune to go to grad school with Richard Garfield who turbo-boosted my games education. I loved his philosophy of meta-gaming: play each game so as to increase your chances of winning all games. A great long term view. I think some of the reasons that mathematicians love math is that it is a lot like playing a game. Defined objects, rules declaring what moves are permitted, desired outcomes... a serious game that is.
This is a page to organize the math games I've created or modified significantly with some notes about content and a collection of the best math games I've seen and played from other teachers in the #MTBoS. I'd like to thank my preservice teachers as they have made wonderful suggestions and done lots of playtesting. This page will ever be in development - a lot of games to put on here!
Games on the Blog
Note: links try to open in the Google doc window, so right click or control click. Sorry! - can't find a fix for that. Here's the Google doc itself if you'd rather read it like that. The newest games that haven't made the doc yet are tagged game.
Other Posts about games:
- James Cleveland and I led a great math game design session at TMC15. Here's the story!
- Game Design one and two: adapting a game design framework to educational games. Second one has my current framework for thinking about the designed games. Applied the framework to the promising number & operations game Make and Take here. Compared it to the NCTM framework, too.
- Katie Salen on game design, founder of a game modeled school, Institute of Play, design professor at DePaul.
- Holiday Game Design: getting 5th graders designing a math game based on Traveling Salesman problem.
- Concentration: odd post taking a gamer's view on how you learn to concentrate
- Doodle Jump: mobile game, connections with Mathematical practices (CCSS) and teaching connections.
- MCC Math Tech- Friday: my notes on Maria Anderson's Playing to Learn presentation with lots of game links. In particular you should try Waker which is a very good algebraic representation game.
- Playing Math : wondering why more people don't see math as playing.
- Unit Rummy and Game Design: in addition to the game, I share some thoughts on game design/adaptation and a fun non-math game, Ruler and Peasant. (Be good for social studies, though.)
- My old games page which has pdfs of several games not listed here.
One of the happiest interactions I've had with game design is adapting Robert Abbott's great game Eleusis. It's a bit complicated for classroom use, so I adapted it to Eleusis Express, and it put me in contact with Dr. Abbott. I often have students play first with the sample rules until they're ready to make up their own. (Which varies student to student.)
Robert Abbot's homepage, the Eleusis page, or one of his logic mazes at Games Magazine. Eleusis Express also got published in The Games Bible, which was very nice.
Some of the game handouts are hosted on Scribd. If you're having trouble getting them, just email me for the file. I am happy to share anything here. (CC3.0 licensing.)
Tiny Math Games
Jason Dyer and Dan Meyer started a conversation about tiny math games that had teachers contributing many. I gathered them up in a google doc, http://bit.ly/TinyMathGames, and Dan has chartered a website for them in the future. I'm a strong proponent of this idea!
Links go to BoardGameGeek, a great reference, review and preview site for zillions of commercial games. Also - pdfs of instructions, which is wicked helpful. (My strongest recommendations in bold.)
- 7 Ate 9 (counting, sequencing)
- 24 game (operations and combinations; more explicitly mathy than the other games on this list)
- Beat the Count (early counting, numeral recognition)
- Blokus (great strategy/sequential reasoning)
- Cribbage (combinations, calculation; anytime games come up with my students, someone will bring up how much they enjoyed the math in Cribbage.)
- Category 5 (2 digit number comparison and difference estimation)
- Farkle (probability, expected value) and variants like Zombie Dice.
- Guess Who? (deduction)
- Katamino (geometry transformations, puzzle reasoning)
- Mascarade (deduction)
- Mastermind (deduction game extraordinaire)
- No Thanks (like pure game theory)
- Pay Day (financial math)
- Quirkle (attributes, connections)
- Racko (excellent number ordering game, number sense, comparison, problem solving, probability)
- Rat-a-Tat-Cat (single digit number comparison, probability)
- Ricochet (2-digit number ordering/comparison)
- Robot Turtles (programming; kind of a simplified RoboRally)
- Tsuro or Tsuro of the Seas (graphs - in the discrete math sense)
- Set (characteristics, sorting) (nb. See Michael Fenton's post on how he uses Set.)
- Spot It (great discrete math in the design)
- Sushi Go (strategy, noticing & attributes, but also different rates and a sneaky quadratic)
- Yahtzee (best probability game short of poker)
- Zeus on the Loose (2 digit addition, landmark numbers)
- Jennifer Brokofsky reviews some new-to-me commercial puzzles & games from a math perspective.
- Chris Hunter has an extensive pdf of mathy commercial games
- ThinkFun has a collection of great puzzles and does good support for teachers. Chocolate Fix and Laser Maze are my favorites. And they've become the commercial publishers of Robot Turtles. Also they make Math Dice, so...
I can't close this without a shout out to strategy games. These are amazing for problem solving. I highly recommend Magic: the Gathering, Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, Pandemic, and Ticket to Ride, among others.
|Love how teachers share!|
Other People's Games
I'm going to try to keep track of good game posts, but there won't be much from before Fall 2011. In general, if you're interested in this you should be following James Cleveland, Denise Gaskins, Gord Hamilton, Kate Nowak and Nora Oswald. All prolific math games folk.
Julie Reulbach has started a Google spreadsheet of these kind of games. James Cleveland has started a curriculum aligned map.
- Maria Anderson's Games for Math, from Algebra through Calculus plus more.
- Stephen Bodman has a secondary math wiki which has an online math games page.
- Cardboard Cognition has games sorted by elementary and secondary and content area, with games for many things besides math. One of the larger (30+) collections of math games I've seen.
- James Cleveland's Curriculum/Game alignment G-spreadsheet (Work in progress.)
- EDC's games for young mathematicians with a K-2 focus.
- Matt (@mathmattics) G-spreadsheet of games.
- Denise Gaskins shares several of Peggy Kaye's classic elementary math games.
- Mark Greenaway's excellent math games collection.
- Algebra Games from JJ Oaks
- Nora Oswald has a growing game collection on her blog and a neat post on teaching game design.
- PEP has several learning games, including a download for elementary math games with cards (link to PDF).
- The NCTM has a games page for each practitioner's journal: (typically a subscription is needed for download; or a colleague you might know with a subscription...)
- Mathematics Teacher games
- Math Teaching in the Middle School games
- Teaching Children Mathematics games
- Youcubed has a few selected games and apps.
- Tracy Johnston Zager wrote a post about her 3 criteria to evaluate fact apps. Good for games in paper, too. She also has a google doc about games good for generalizing.
- 17goldenfish shares a classic Marilynn Burns target game for number and operations. Vastly adaptable.
- Maria has several variations on her block game. For example, exponent block and factor block.
- Guillermo Bautista has a teacher-developed integer variation on checkers called Da Math.
- John Berray has You Can Count On This to get at definition of a function.
- Marilyn Burns (yes that Marilyn Burns) introduces her game Four Strikes and You're Out. (2 digit addition. Also a great booklet of Win-Win games for elementary number goals.
- James Cleveland has several: transversals, statistics measures of center, quadratic factoring
- Dave and Kathy Coffey on a nice bingo variation for two digit addition, and adjusting games in general with some other resources.
- Shawn Cornally's race car game that relates integrals and velocity.
- Jeremiah Dyke's students created Real Number Beer Pong
- Carole Fullerton shares Cross Over, a 2 digit +/- 1 digit strategy game. She has a division with remainders game, too.
- Gordon Hamilton is one of the great math game designers. Here's Rock for K-2 on numbers and comparing, written up by Denise Gaskins.
- Tara Maynard's like terms UNO.
- Dan Meyer shares a neat Michael Serra vector game, Frank Noschese added the general version and an online version.
- Kate Nowak's speed dating game for rational expressions.
- Kate also has a good propositional logic game.
- Kate also also has an awesome representation of functions game: Graphles-to-Graphles
- Nora Oswald's Conic Capture game using Desmos, a neat function game: Domain Ranger, absolute value equation game (Love this mechanic & will steal it.), Factoring game to prepare students for factoring trinomials. Slope-Ping using ping pong balls to score slope cards. And, she now has a website for her games!
- Matt Paarlberg shares a Letter Game to introduce deduction and proof.
- Michael Pershan has Baldermath - a really interesting math reasoning game based on Balderdash.
- Becca Phillips crosses musical chairs & I never for an algebra vocabulary/attribute game. Very promising to adapt for other content.
- Nicora Placa shares 3 excellent Constance Kamii multiplication games.
- Quest to Learn has the Caterpillar Game, MS game on probability & data visualization.
- Max Ray shares a bundle of fraction games.
- Joe Schwartz writes about using (well) Sum Swamp, a commercial math game, a very good strategy game on a hundreds board for 1st/2nd grade.
- Sam Shah shares a path game with dice. Good for probability or sums. (Tiny game!)
- Elizabeth Statmore (cheesemonkeySF) has a Life on the Number Line game for integers, as well as Life on the Unit Circle, and a collaborative Geometry vocabulary block game.
- Christine Sullivan shares games from TMC14 with a fraction benchmark game
- Shelisa has the plate game for combinations and attributes. (elementary)
- Julie Wright has an LCM clapping game
- Tracy Zager shares Nim variants and a cool counting game as part of a bigger story about PD.
This section is for non-content specific games, the stronger (and more fun) descendants of bingo and math baseball, usually used on review days. I have not always spoken kindly of these, but I appreciate ways to get games in the classroom, teachers using structures that they have already developed, and teachers attending to their students' engagement level.
In a Global Math session on Game Show Math, Bowen Kerins included this slide. Important stuff to consider when thinking about using a game: access to all students, minimal advantage for speed, engagement for students who are most in need of review, opportunities to hear other students' reasoning.
- Alyssa has Stinky Feet, a review game with positive & negative points.
- Maria Anderson describes her speed rounds game.
- Bowman Dickson modifies the Mistakes Game
- Tina C does an overview of low, medium and high effort review games.
- Sara Carter shares Risk & Four in a Row
- Jennifer Chirles posted a collection of her games. (Inspired this section.)
- Jason Dyer's math speedball
- Jennifer Fairbanks' Zap review game (answer questions to uncover score bonuses)
- Kristin Fouss' trashketball; Dan Weskelgreene explains trashketball (on variable evaluation here); Julie has perfected the instructions.
- Denise Gaskin's has Math War for number computation, which Kate Nowak modified into Log War and Jim Pai into Log and Trig War.
- Amy Gruen's math dominoes (here for algebra), game is good for any kind of matching.
- Chris Hunter's MATHO and variations
- Dan Meyer's math basketball
- Kate Nowak has the row game (and row games galore). Molly Kate has an evaluating expressions game and write up.
- Kate also has the flyswatter game (for conics here). Here's a flyswatter powerpoint I developed for rational functions. There are mistakes, sigh. Here's an elementary version.
- Jon Orr adapts 2 Truths and a Lie into an excellent classroom game. His example is for algebra.
- Nora Oswald's I Don't Think So review game.
- Nora's Bazinga has an interesting game layer on top of review structure.
- Rebecca Phillips mashes up I Never with musical chairs for a great physical review game
- Julie Reulbach's Matho Powerpoint template.
- Sam Shah's Math Taboo - for math vocabulary; he discusses use with ELL students. Fawn Nguyen has a neat post on Taboo, too.
- Tim always runs a week-long hangman game based on his own mistakes.
- Natalie Turbiville has a bar-style Trivia Game framework.
- Sarah Van Der Werf has the 5x5 game. Number addition, probability but mostly strategy.
- Sue Van Hattum relates a game called Risk and her follow up. (But not about conquest.) (Sam Shah's also written about it twice.)
- Matt Vaudrey has several - see his GlobalMath presentation on them.
- Mimi Yang's Speed Game (specific example for numeric patterns)
- The MS math wiki has several games of this type.
- Here's a few review games collected at Davidson.
- All the Powerpoint templates for TV game shows you could want, including Jeopardy.
I want to start a section here with posts and accessible articles covering the benefits of mathematical gameplay.
- Simple Games for Young Children - John Hopkins study on a subitizing activity. Not a game, exactly, but it would be easy to gamify.
I am not a gamifier myself (I don't need no steenkin' badges), but try to apply several of the principles and think there's a lot of great teachers doing innovative things with them. (Maybe I do need some steenkin' badges.)
Here's the resources I have compiled so far. (As the Google doc if you prefer.) As a counter point, here's a strongly worded anti-gamification essay suggested by Audrey Waters.
Photo credits: jawhawksean @ Flickr, I Can Haz Cheezburger, Buglugs @ Flickr