# Using Games in Mathematics Go to Articles

Games have long been used to motivate students and help them enjoy mathematics, but there are other benefits of using instructional games in the mathematics classroom.

Group games foster discussion among students, and using mathematical language is essential for developing reasoning skills and an understanding of concepts. Such interaction also promotes the development of skills such as active listening, social play, and cooperation.

Games also improve students' self-esteem and confidence. The element of chance gives every player the opportunity to be a winner, so students know they can succeed if they have the skill.

Most importantly, games can teach. Good games contribute to teaching and learning by providing the materials and ideas with which mathematical concepts and skills can be developed.

The following is an example of a mathematics game that develops mental computation skills and associated language while also promoting active listening.

## Perfect Pairs (2 Players)

Multiplying using compatible pairs

Purpose

In this game, the students practice choosing and using compatible pairs to find the product of three numbers.

Materials

Each pair of players will need

• On set of numeral cards: Make four copies of the cards shown below, then cut out and laminate all the cards to make one set.

How to Play

The aim is to finish with the greater number of cards.

• The cards are shuffled and dealt face up into three equal stacks.
• The first player calculates the product of the three numbers on the top cards. If he or she is successful and can explain how the product was calculated, the player removes and keeps all three cards. A calculator can be used if an answer is disputed. Example: The top three cards show 3, 5, and 6. Dominic calculates the product is 90. He explains that he multiplied 5 x 6 first, then multiplied the answer by 3.
• If the player is unsuccessful, the other player has a turn using the same three cards.
• If both players cannot calculate the product of any three cards, one card is removed from one stack and placed underneath.
• Play alternates until all the cards have been removed from the stacks.
• The player with the greater number of cards is the winner.

## Bibliography

Burnett, J. & Tickle, B. (2003). Fundamentals: Games for developing and practising mental computation strategies series. Brisbane, Australia: ORIGO Education

;