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Building Successful
Problem Solvers
Diane Reid & Genna Stotts
Region 16 ESC
How do math games support problem solving for children?
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Diffy Boxes (Draw a large rectangle below)
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PIG (Addition & Probability)
2-4 Players
Need: Pair of Dice
Goal: Be the first to get a score of 100
Take turns rolling a pair of dice. You must keep a mental total of the sum of the dice. After each roll you must say
the sum out loud and be sure everyone agrees you have added correctly.
You can roll the dice as many times as you wish. When you stop rolling, write your total for that round.
However, if you roll a “1” on one of the dice, then your turn is over and your score goes to zero (0) for that round.
If you roll double “1” on both die, then your sum for the game up to that point goes to zero (0).
The first player to 100 wins the game.
Difference War
Need: Deck of cards with face cards removed: Aces = 1
M&Ms (Small package)
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2 Players
Deal cards evenly between players face down
Both players turn up the top card in their stack
The player with the larger number wins that round.
The winner takes the number of M&Ms as the difference between the two numbers.
When all the M&Ms are gone, the winner is the player with the most M&Ms.
Variations: In these variations, the winner for each round gets to keep all of the cards. When finished, the player
with the most cards wins the game.
Place Value War-Flip top 3 cards and then use to make largest 3 digit number
Addition War-Face cards=10; Flip top 2-3 cards and then see which is the largest sum
Subtraction War-Face cards=10; Flip top 2 cards and subtract the smaller from the larger; largest difference wins
Adv. Subtraction War-Use Ace-9 only; Flip top 3 cards; Use 2 cards to make 2-digit # and subtract the 3rd card;
largest difference wins
Multiplication War-Face Cards=10; Flip top 2 cards and largest product wins
Adv. Multiplication War-Ace=11, Jack=12, Queen=13, King=14; Flip top 3-4 cards. Largest product wins
Fraction War- Ace=11, Jack=12, Queen=13, King=14; Flip top 2 cards and arrange to make largest fraction possible
Integer Addition War- Ace=11, Jack=12, Queen=13, King=14; Black=Positive, Red=Negative; Flip top 2 cards and
largest sum wins (Remember -2 is larger than -20 because it is closer to 1)
Integer Multiplication War- Ace=11, Jack=12, Queen=13, King=14; Black=Positive, Red=Negative; Flip top 2 cards
and largest product wins
Exponent War-Face Cards=10; Flip top 2 cards, players make the largest number possible using 1 card as base &
other as the exponent
What types of thinking are involved in the different games?
What can enhance the problem-solving and thinking involved?
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Number Sandwiches
2-4 players
Mind Magic
3 players
Need:
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Playing Cards (Ace-10 only); Target Number Cards (5-18)
Deal the cards to each of the players.
Someone selects a Target Number
Each of the players uses their cards to determine a combination that would equal the target number.
The first person to correctly identify a pair will make a number sandwich. The target number goes
between the two cards which add together. These cards are facing outward.
Variation: Look at only one side of the sandwich and the target number. Name what card is on the blind side
of the number sandwich.
Multiplication Number Sandwich (Red Hot Facts!!!): Playing Cards: Only use number cards for 3, 4, 6, 7, 8.
Use the following numbers for your target number cards: 9, 12, 16, 18, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36, 42, 48, 49, 56, 64
Need:
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Playing Cards (Face cards removed)
Deal out cards to two of the players face down
The 3rd player calls out “Abracadabra”
The other two players pick up their top card without looking and place it against their forehead.
The 3rd player then tells what the sum of the two cards is. The other two players then must determine
what the card they are holding against their forehead is.
5. The first one to respond keeps both cards. The other person switches places with the magician.
6. The winner is the person who has the most cards.
Variation: You can do the same thing but instead of naming the sum of the numbers, Player 3 would give the
product of the two cards.
Five in a Row
2-4 players
Need: Blank 5x5 game board (similar to Bingo)
Beans or counters
Dice
1. Each player writes in the possible sums you could get by rolling two dice in each of the squares
2. Taking turns, roll the dice and add. Each player then uses a bean/counter to cover that sum on their game
board.
3. Repeat with players taking turns until someone has covered 5 in a row.
Variation: You can use multiplication. It will change the numbers you need to include on the game board.
WIPE OUT!!!
2-4 Players
Need: Pattern Blocks (Hexagon, blue rhombus, trapezoid, triangle)
Dice Marked for Parts of Whole (Example: 1 hexagon whole: 1/2, 1/3, 1/3, 1/6, 1/6, 1/6)
1. Determine what your whole will be-1, 2, or 3 hexagons
2. Everyone starts with the whole
3. Take turns rolling the die and removing the appropriate size piece (make exchanges when appropriate)
4. The first one to WIPE OUT their whole exactly WINS!
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The Game of 15 (99, 1, X15 )
Need:
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2 Players
Number Cards (1-9 for Game of 15)
Shuffle the number cards and place them face down between the players
Player 1 draws a card; Player 2 then does the same thing
Play continues until 1 player has three cards whose sum equals 15.
Follow-up questions: Does it matter if you go first or second? Does someone always win? Is there a strategy that
improves your chances of winning?
Variations:
Game of 99: Use cards with these numbers to find the sum of 99: 5, 12, 19, 26, 33, 40, 47, 54, 61
Game of 1: Use cards with these fractions to find the sum of 1: 1/5, 5/24, 1/4, 7/24, 1/3, 3/8, 5/12, 11/12, 1/2
Game of X15: Use cards with these factors: X, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7, X8, X9 (You will be finding the product of these
cards that totals X15)
The Factor Game
2 Players
The Product Game
2 Players
Need:
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Gameboard with 1-30, colored counters
Player 1 puts a marker on a number on the board
Player 2 then puts a marker on the factors of the number
Player 2 then puts a marker on their own number on the board
Player 1 then puts a marker on the factors of that number
If a player covers a number for which there are no more factors, they must remove their marker and they
lose their turn.
6. Play continues until both players agree that there are no more numbers which can be played
Need: Gameboard (#1-30 top & #1-9 at bottom), 2 paperclips, colored counters
1. Player 1: Puts a paperclip on a number at the bottom
2. Player 2: Puts the other paperclip on a number at the bottom and then puts their colored counter on the
products at the top.
3. Player 1: Moves one of the paperclips to a different number and then covers its product on the board
(Paperclips can be on the same number)
4. Continue playing until one player has covered 4 numbers in a row (either horizontally or vertically).
Recommendations:
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The Factor Game
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The Product Game
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Factors
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