TES Maths ROTW: Tables learning games

Consolidate secondary pupils' knowledge of times tables with this versatile board game, complete with suggested lines of enquiry, recommended by TES Maths

Craig Barton

TES Maths Resource of the Week

Resource title: Tables learning games

Resource author: GazzaM

What is it?

The first topic I look for when planning ahead for next academic year is factors and multiples. The reason? I love playing this rich and engaging factors and multiples game. I didn't think there could be a better way to practice tables learning, until I found Gozinto.

There are two versions of this tactical activity; one for factors and the other for multiples. In both, students must capture squares in order to be the first to get four-in-a-row or across the board. To capture a square, they roll a die and look for either a factor or multiple of that number, depending on which board they are using. 

This game may seem simple, but it is the perfect starting point for the exploration of a wide range of mathematical questions.

How can it be used?

Regular readers will know how much I enjoy mathematically rich tasks, in which pupils start off at the same point before moving on to tackling a selection of probing questions. Gozinto works in this way.

Once pupils, ideally working in pairs, have mastered the basics, there are a variety of lines of enquiry that can be investigated. The author provides some of his own:

  • One die or two?
  • Six or ten-sided die?
  • Four or five in a row?
  • What if there is no winner?
  • The longest chain?

You might also like to explore:

  • Which number can you get in the most ways? How about in the fewest ways?
  • What is the easiest board you could design? How about the hardest?
  • What is the most useful number on your die? How about the least useful number?
  • What rule change would you bring in to change the game?

Given its versality, it's fair to say that Gozinto will be a feature of my factors and multiples lessons for years to come.

Craig Barton

Craig is a secondary maths teacher in the North of England.

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