Games: Developing Fluency

• NUMBER: Place Value, Operations (+, -, x, ÷) 

• Problem Solving and Reasoning

A game typically involves two or more players, although there are many solitaire games. The second player may be a computer or online opponent. A game is governed by a set of rules and has an objective or end point. Mathematics games should have a clear mathematical focus. Games are often used in mathematics to encourage practice, which in turn develops fluency. All games need to be monitored. Remember “Perfect practice makes perfect”. Games come in different forms: Board, Card, Dice, Spinner.

Variations include whole class games and computer versions of games. Turn the tile is an example of a game that may be played as a whole class, and then in pairs.

Mathematical Language

Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, strategy

Using Games

Fluency games are used to practise facts that have been taught. The aim is to store facts in long term memory so they may be retrieved, without too much effort. When playing card games, students will need to learn some card etiquette. See the earlier section on cards.

Students will need to be taught how to:
• take turns
• anticipate opponents’ moves
• develop and apply winning strategies (requires reasoning)
It is important that someone monitors the game play, in much the same way that a banker does in a game like Monopoly.

For example in the game Astronaut Addition, one player takes on the role of “Mission Controller” and is given a set of answers to monitor the moves of each astronaut. The “Mission Controller” can take on the dual role as astronaut and controller.

equivalent fractions

Placing tiles end to end helps to establish the idea of equivalent fractions. For example, 2-fourths covers the same or an equivalent length as 4-eighths. This is the same length as 1-half. In fact 2/4 and 4/8 are other names for 1/2.

Two-fourths, four-eighths are the same length as one-half. They are equivalent fractions.

Typical Classroom Requirements

A class set:

Some games are designed to be played in pairs e.g. Multispin, Spindiv. Other games are designed to be played in small groups of three or four.



Support and Complementary Materials

The Place Value Abacus forms part of a suite of manipulatives designed to support the development of Place Value concepts. The suite of Place Value related manipulatives may be packed together as a kit.

Beanbag Target Mat

Spinner Darts