Family Math Games

These games are typically ones that involve little equipment other than dice or cards at the most.

If you don’t have dice in your house, you can make dice by folding paper and taping it to make a cube, or writing the numbers 1-6 on slips of paper and putting them into a container to draw from.

Likewise, if you don’t have cards, you can make a deck by using slips of paper. Most often, decks of cards don’t even need to be complete decks.  Game boards can be printed, but they also, hopefully, simple enough to sketch on a piece of paper.

Have fun playing these games with your family!

These games are typically ones that involve little equipment other than dice or cards at the most.

If you don’t have dice in your house, you can make dice by folding paper and taping it to make a cube, or writing the numbers 1-6 on slips of paper and putting them into a container to draw from.

Likewise, if you don’t have cards, you can make a deck by using slips of paper. Most often, decks of cards don’t even need to be complete decks.  Game boards can be printed, but they also, hopefully, simple enough to sketch on a piece of paper.

Have fun over the summer playing these games with your family!

K/1 Games – Math Memory & 9 Square

Math Memory

Skill: Addition to 5
Materials: Deck of Cards, 1 Six-Sided Die   

Instructions:

  • Remove the all the cards greater than 5 from the deck.
  • Shuffle, then lay the rest of the cards (A = 1 to 5) on the table facedown in a 4 x 5 grid.
  • Player One rolls the die. This value on the die is the target value.
  • Players take turns flipping over two cards and seeing if they can make an addition equation that equals the target value on the die. Players must use 2 of their cards to obtain the target number; players can not just use one card. The cards that are not used must be turned back facedown in their original position in the grid. Cards used to make the equation are collected from the grid and are placed in front of the player.
  • Players are challenged to remember what cards every player has flipped to help them create equations on their own turn.
  • After everyone has had a chance to build an equation for a given target, the die is rolled again for a new target number.

The player with the most cards at the end of a set amount of time is the winner!

9 square

Skill: Addition to 18
Materials needed: deck of cards between 2 (or 3) students

Grade 2/3 – Over the Hill & Salute

Over The Hill

From: https://zenomath.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Zeno-Family-Math-Game-Over-the-Hill.pdf

Materials:

  • 3 dice
  • Pencil
  • Game board for each player that can be drawn like:

Skills: Addition, Subtraction, Sequencing

Object: players use addition or subtraction to make the totals given, in order, from 1-18. They can use combinations of two or three dice and either add or subtract (or a combination of those operations) the dice to get a desired total.

To Play:

  1. Players take turns rolling all 3 dice.  They try to make the totals needed by adding and/or subtracting the dice. To start climbing the hill, players need to make a total of “1” from their dice. Using the same roll, the same player can now try to make a total of “2”, then “3”, and so on, if the roll of the dice permit it. They must make each total in order.
  2. The totals can be made by using either using two or all three of the dice. The players may NOT use a single die to make a total.

For example, assume a player rolled a 1, 2, and 4. A total of 1 can be made by 2-1 (using only two dice), or it can be made by 4-2-1 (using all three dice). The same player can now try to make a 2 (which they can by 4-2), and then a 3 (4-1 or 1+2), and a 4 (which they can’t with these dice).

  • Players can cross off as many numbers as possible on each turn. When they cannot create the next total from the dice, it is their partner’s turn.
  • Each player starts at the end point from their previous turn. The game ends after a set period of time. The winner is the player who got the furthest along the hill at the end of the time period.

Example Game:

Player Red rolls a 3,4, and 6. She can cross off 1 (4-3 or 3+4-6), then the 2 (6-4), and then 3 (6-3). She cannot cross off 4 (because she cannot use the given dice to make a sum or difference of 4) so it is Player Blue’s turn.

Intermediate – Freezing 45 & Area and Perimetre

Freezing Forty-Five

Skills: Mixed operations (+, -, x)
Players: 2 – 4
Equipment: two 6-sided dice, paper, pencil

Goal: To reach the target number forty-five in three turns.

Getting Started: Player one rolls the dice and uses their sum to generate a number. They do the same process again to generate another number. They then choose to add, subtract, or multiply the numbers rolled to add to their total sum. 

That player then can multiply, add, or subtract the numbers 9 and 7.      

A player may choose to “freeze” their score after their first or second turn. This means that they keep their current score until the end of the round.

Players continue to take up to three turns, adding their scores to create a total sum for the round. The person closest to forty-five for each round earns a point. (For ties, both players score a point.) If a player reaches forty-five exactly, they earn 2 bonus points. The first player to score 10 points is the winner.

Example Round:

Players now compare their result to 45. Player one is 3 away from 45. Player two is 2 away from 45. Player two wins this round. 

Variation: add the division operation to the game!

Adapted from Box Cars & One-Eyed Jacks http://www.boxcarsandoneeyedjacks.com

Middle School – The 100 Game & Hit The Target

The 100 Game

Goal – alternating turns, players add digits mentally until a player reaches 100 exactly.

Skills – addition, mental math, fact fluency, problem solving.

Players – two or three players.

Materials – paper and pencil if desired.

Level – Grade 3 to 8.

Instructions:

This is a strategy game – it is more than just adding up values.

  1. Player One starts by saying a number between 1 and 10.
  2. The next player says a number greater than the previous number.  However, this next number cannot be greater than the previous number by more than ten.

For example, if Player One started with “6”, Player Two can say anything from 7 to 16.  Assuming Player Two said “12”, then the next player can say anything from 13 to 22, and so on.

  • Players alternate turns until one player eventually wins by saying “100”.

Variation – players can pick different target numbers other than 100 (for younger students, make the total smaller than 100 and for older students make the total greater than 100). The totals do not have to be a multiple of 10; for example, the target total could be 117.

Variation – make the next value at most no greater than nine, not ten.

Game: Hit The Target Number

Taken from: http://www.startsateight.com/playing-card-math-for-middle-school/

Materials: Deck of Cards where Ace = 1,… Jack = 11, Queen = 12, King = 13.  The numbers 1 to 30 written on 30 small slips of paper.  These 30 numbers are the “target numbers”.

Players: 2 to 5 players

Skills: Order of Operations; addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, mathematical reasoning

Instructions:

  • The group of players will select a target number from 1-30 by selecting a slip of paper that was face down.
  • Player one will turn five cards from the deck face up.  The object is for each player to make a number sentence using all five cards with any operations to reach the target number.
  • For example, suppose the target number is 20 and the cards in play are 5, 5, 6, 2, and Ace.  One winning combination is: 5 x 2 + 5 + 6 – 1 = 20. Another is (6 x 5) – (2 x 5 x 1). Also, (6 ÷ 2) x 5 + (5 x 1) works, as do many more.
  • The first player to find a winning combination keeps the cards and chooses the next target number. If no combination is found in about a minute, flip over another card and try to make a combination using six cards.
  • If playing with players of different abilities, instate a rule that says: if a player hasn’t made a combination in three rounds, he or she may make combinations using four of the five cards until they make a winning combination; other players must use five.

Variation: If a player can use all five cards to make a sentence that equals the target number, they get 5 points.  If a player uses four cards, they get 4 points.  Three cards is 3 points, and two cards is 1 point.  First to a total of 25 (or more) wins.