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Math Games and Puzzles

25 Super Cool Math Board Games

My bestselling book for teachers, homeschoolers, and parents is a lively collection of games that reinforce important math skills (grades 3-6): computation, fractions and decimals, geometry, probability, logic and problem solving, and more.

The games are suitable for classroom, small group, and two–player use. Several solitaire and self–checking activities and reproducibles are also included.

Here's a sampling of the games and skill topics:

  • Skyscraper Run-Up Relay Race (computation)
  • Bargain Chasement (money math)
  • Remainder Raccoon (division)
  • Factor Bowling (factors and multiples)
  • Gopher Golf puzzle (computation)
  • Creepy Crawly Fraction Game
  • Decimal Dive

One of my personal favorites is Probability on Ice, a figure skating math game. Kids "skate" a safe routine by choosing maneuvers with the lowest odds of falling and the highest possible score.

True Math Board Game

Review by C Cowen:

"I used this in homeschooling my 5th grade son. It's great for critical thinking and introduction of various concepts. The questions are interesting and keep his attention.... For example, today we discussed concepts such as pi, two to the tenth power, analogies, whether the Sahara desert is as large as the U.S., and whether 1908 is in the 19th century. Yesterday included the daily value of Cokes sold worldwide, a 5 million square foot mall and whether a flea is as long as the width of a dime.

I also am learning as I play."

101 Math Brain-Boosting Math Puzzlers

Skill topics for these puzzlers include computation, geometry, problem solving, logic, patterns, algebraic thinking, and more for upper elementary and middle schools students.

Each puzzler includes "Think About It" tips and an optional "Really Big Hint" for solvers who get stuck. Once students master a puzzle format, they can move on to more challenging puzzles of the same type.

I tested these puzzlers with fifth and sixth graders and, though some kids found them challenging, they didn't want to quit until they "got it."

Here's a review by Eleanor Ennis in the journal Teaching Children Mathematics, including some creative ways to use the puzzles in a classroom:

This assortment of reproducible puzzles that build essential mathematics skills is divided into three chapters: "Numbers and Arithmetic," "Geometry and Coordinates," and "Logical Thinking." Each puzzle includes simple directions and "Think about It!" hints to guide students' thinking. Intriguing problems keep students probing and discussing long after a solution is found.

This resource could be used for interactive bulletin boards on which puzzles are posted each morning and students solve them by the end of the day. The puzzles could also be given to students who arrive early or finish their work before others. A weekly puzzle contest between teams of students would be fun and would serve as a natural way to have students work cooperatively. I think that this book would be a valuable addition to any mathematics teacher's library.

Ready, Set, Roll! (Math Dice Games)

"Number Cube Games: Ready, Set Roll!" includes four colorful dice and rules, reproducibles, and teaching notes for addictive math games that kids like to play just for the fun of it. Note: When you buy a used copy, make sure the four dice are included!

PUBLISHERS: Contact Lorraine about turning this collection of math dice games into stand-alone products.