Fact: Kids love playing strategy math games, and when you introduce a twist of strategy, you add a problem-solving element to the activity.  As kids play a game multiple times, their strategy will evolve. A great way to add accountability to a game that’s being played in a workstation is to have students write about their strategy in their Math Journal. My favorite games are those that are engaging, include a twist of strategy, and require very little in the way of prep or materials. Today I’ve got two strategy math games that can be played with nothing more than a blank hundred chart and a couple of colored pencils.

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The first game is the easier of the two. Assuming the number 1 in the upper left corner of the chart, players take turns using their colored pencil to write a single number in one of the squares on the chart. In doing this, students are using the patterns on the hundred chart, which emphasize place value, to determine which number goes in a particular square. A player who gets four numbers in a row on the chart (horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) draws a line through the numbers and earns one point. Play continues. The player who has the most points at the end of the game wins. This game can be differentiated by assuming different numbers in the top left corner. For example, the “starting” number could be a 3-digit number, such as 501, or even a decimal like 0.1.

The second game is a little more difficult and focuses on choosing numbers with a difference of 21. In this game, players take turns writing in two numbers that have a difference of 21. So, for example, I might begin the game by writing in the numbers 24 and 45 (difference of 21). My opponent might follow up with 43 and 64 (also a difference of 21). The format of the hundred chart makes determining pairs of number with a difference of 21 easy to find. The game continues much like the first game I described. When a player gets four numbers in a row, they draw a line through the numbers, score a point, and play continues. This game could also be differentiated by allowing players to choose a different target difference for the game. So they could play, for example, with a difference fo 37, which would be harder than 21.

You can download a blank number chart here. If you use it in your classroom, please drop a comment below or, better yet, take some pictures and tag me in a tweet!

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