As a boy I loved playing games. Many happy hours were spent playing with my sisters, parents, cousins and friends. We played cards, monopoly, scrabble and chess. I have no doubt that playing these games helping me with literacy and numeracy, as well as social skills. Because of this I have no hesitation in using games in the classroom to motivate, reinforce and build teacher-student relationships.

In line with this pedagogy is MariaD’s Blog article “60 ways to make math activities inclusive“. Number 15 is:

“Play games. Recreational mathematics has something to offer for everyone, because play is an innate quality of the human animal”.

I use some very simple games that only use dice or playing cards. I will post about them in future. But first a commercial board game that my students and I love: “Pente”.pente7

Image from Puzzle Me This.

This is a great game that is very quick to learn. The goal – get 5 in a row, or capture 10 of your opponents pieces. This is an example of a multiple entry, multiple exit activity. After playing against a student or observing students at play, I can easily tell what logical thought processes are happening.

I often use this game at the end of a lesson as a work reward. If a student can defeat me I prepare a glossy certificate for them.

What games do other teachers use in the classroom?

Stay tuned for details of other games I use.


About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.
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One Response to Pente

  1. Eric says:

    I know this is a pretty late comment, but I only recently stumbled across this post. I remember fondly my mathematics teacher in high school recommending Pente in an independent study course. I was already familiar with the game, but it was fun to have a whole class full of other students to play with.

    Anyway, I thought you might be interested in a computer version of Pente that I wrote, that includes an AI opponent. I have a blog post about it here, which links to the software here.

    Have fun, please let me know if you find it useful!

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