Tuesday, December 8, 2015

12.8 (Math) Game Day

This will be a shorter post than usual since I left my camera at home, I have a math contest to talk about after Saturday and today was all about play.

I was originally inspired for today's math club by this post: http://3jlearneng.blogspot.com/2015/12/solveme-mobiles-and-blockblobs.html where Joshua was playing the blob game with his kids.  I thought my fourth graders would also likely get a kick out of this.  We have only 2 sessions left and at first  was going to save this for next week. But then MOEMS released the next Olympiad and that will take up most of the time then so I decided to focus on games for the whole session this week instead. What I like to do is provide several stations so kids can find something that resonates with them so I rounded the set out with

I started by going around the room and explaining the rules for each game. I could tell this was going to be compelling because I had to keep corralling kids to move to the next game and not just start on the one I had explained. I then let everyone go and play.  As I thought this was 100% absorbing for the entire room and kids had to be pried out by their parents at the end of the session. My favorite moment was having one of the kids who ordinarily is very hard to motivate volunteering the rules for a variant on Dots that she plays at home. I will definitely plan for an all game session next quarter as well. Ultimately 9-11 year olds are still just kids regardless of their math aptitude and they need to play and see math as fun not just school problems.

For the problem of the week I chose: http://cemc.uwaterloo.ca/resources/potw/2015-16/POTWC-15-DP-12-P.pdf  This one I think will be a bit easier than the last several weeks. 


  1. What was your student's variant on Dots&Boxes?

    At home, we played a 3 player version of Block Blob that was also quite successful.

    Also, there is a lot of mileage from tic-tac-toe variations:
    (1) normal play
    (2) misere with X-O on 3x3
    (3) misere with X only on single 3x3
    (4) misere with X only on multiple 3x3 boards
    (5) ultimate tic-tac-toe (each cell of main 3x3 board is subdivided into its own 3x3 board. Where you play in an interior board determines the main cell where your opponent plays their next turn).

    I love both games and puzzles for the kids. We have a game-heavy mix, but are incorporating more puzzles now.

  2. I'd have to interview her again. I was too busy to grasp all the subtleties of it. Two other groups came up with variations where they had more than one player and allowed boxes that were larger than one square.