Gameboards! Move 2 Spaces and Gain Number Flexibility

Posted on June 10, 2010. Filed under: Elementary math, Guided math, Math Centers | Tags: , , , |


Gameboards can provide a great space for engaging students in academically rigorous thinking tasks. They  also have the added bonus of building social skills and character.  A growing body of research suggests that games can and do improve math skills (see http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2008/04/30/35games_ep.h27.html),

 I can set out 5 teacher made educational game boards and tell students to do totally different things.  For example:

Group 1: Play doubles- Roll the dice, double the number and move that many spaces.  Whoever reaches the finish line first wins.

Group 2: Play +10 ( they can use the number line as a scaffold)- Roll the dice, add ten and move that many spaces.  Whoever reaches the finish line first wins.

Group 3: Play Lucky 8 (a game to practice compensation) – Pull a card, add eight to that number and move that many spaces.  Whoever reaches the finish line first wins.

Group 4: Play Lucky 9 (a game to practice compensation) – Pull a card, add nine to that number and move that many spaces.  Whoever reaches the finish line first wins.

Group 5:  Roll 3 and Add.  Eachg player generates 3 different numbers, adds them together and moves that many.  Whoever reaches the finish line first, wins.

Tips for Successful Board Games : adapted from Shelley Chang & Jenny Cogswell (2008)                                                                    

Be Creative – Think Out of Box

Think: “How can I make this standard into a boardgame?” What exactly do I want them to practice?  Where’s the math?

Buy lots of different game boards and adopt them.  The game should be fun and have an element of strategy and chance.  Throw in a few “Pass Go,”  “Lucky Break” or “2 extra point” roadblocks.

Include artifacts where they have to record/show their thinking along the way.  At the very least have a summary sheet where they can do some sort of brief reflection at the end.

Be sure to differentiate the games by readiness levels.  Everybody should get an opportunity to play, but usually I would make sure students are practicing in their “zone of proximal development “-somewhere where they are building their skill sets.

Give it a Professional Look – Students don’t want to play anything that looks raggedy.  Be proud of your gameboards.    

Develop a Good Set of Rules – Make sure everybody understands them. Have several sets so students  can refer to them during the game. Make sure they know how to set up, play, and win the game.

Bonus Tip: Have your students create some of the gameboards!  They have to pick a topic they are struggling with and then make a game for them to practice and get better at that skill.                                                                                       

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