# Gameboards! Move 2 Spaces and Gain Number Flexibility

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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