A Fun {and Easy} Math Game

Today I am super excited to share one of my favorite partner math games with you! It's an oldie, but goodie. You know, one of those ideas that's passed on from teacher to teacher over the years (which is how I learned about it).  It's called Walk the Plank.



This game is super easy to set up and the kids love, love, love it!  It is a great way to help students reinforce and practice their addition facts.  And, it gives them more practice with following rules and working with others.  Win, win!

For this partner game you will need some paint sticks. I sent my hubby to Lowe's one day and they gave him about 10 (for free...even though he didn't buy any paint).  Nice!  Number each stick as shown.


I recommend using the longer paint sticks.  My first set was made with the shorter ones and while they did the job, the numbers were really squished together.

You will also need some number cubes to match the numbers on your plank.  Mine are numbered 5 through 10.  I used blank wooden cubes and simply numbered them with a Sharpie. Easy peasy!  To play, the students will need two number cubes.


As you can see, the two players will also need some linking cubes. Each player places an individual cube next to each of the numbers on the plank.  They will need 11 linking cubes each. Note: you could use any small object as a game piece.

To play, Player 1 rolls the number cubes and adds their two numbers together.  So, let's say that Player 1 (yellow cubes) rolls a 6 and a 7.  They would add these numbers together and get a sum of 13.  Player 1 would then take the cube next to the number 13 on Player 2's side (purple cubes).  That's what the kids love. They get to take the other player's game pieces!


Play continues in this fashion until one player collects all of the other player's cubes.  It starts getting tricky near the end because the students only have a few numbers left on the plank and they can't control what they roll.  But, guess what, each time they roll they are practicing their math facts. They are learning without even realizing it.  It's the best!!

The numbers shown above work for my second graders, but maybe you'd like to differentiate.  Go for it!  You can label your plank and cubes with whatever numbers you want!  You could also use dice and number your plank from 2 to 12 (or 3 to 18 if you want to use three dice).


For those of you who like things bulleted out for easy reference (that would be me), here's the info again. :)

Materials needed to play:
  • 1 paint stick
  • 2 number cubes/dice (or even 3 dice depending upon the type of plank you make)
  • 11-16 unifix/linking cubes per player (players need different color cubes), depending upon which plank you are using
To play:
  • Each player lines their cubes along the plank, aligning them with the numbers written on the plank
  • Player 1 rolls the number cubes/dice and adds them together and then removes the OTHER player's cube next to that number
  • Player 2 does the same
  • Players take turns adding together their numbers and removing the OTHER player's cubes
  • The first player to collect all of the other player's cubes is the winner!
I hope your students enjoy this game as much as mine do!

DON'T FORGET IT: PIN IT!







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25 comments:

  1. This game will be a great addition to our guided math rotations! Thank you for sharing.
    Storie
    Stories by Storie

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  2. Stopping by to let you know I Boo'ed you! Stop by my blog to check it out!

    Brandi
    Success in Second Grade

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  3. Just found this on Pinterest. It looks like a terrific game!
    Kelly
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

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  4. Love this game. Can't wait to adapt to fifth grade using multiplication & order of operations. Found on Pinterest. ☆

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  5. Simple and educational, thank you for sharing. Some other game-based method of teaching and learning can aslo be found here: http://translatorkingalatarska.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/games-as-effective-teaching-and-learning-methods/

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  6. How does a player get to collect the other player's cube?

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  7. Love it! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  8. What happens if a player roles and they have already removed the other player's cube on a previous role- do they just loose a turn? I know you said it gets tricky once they start loosing cubes towards the end. Is this how it would work?

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    1. Hi Terese,

      That's how I handle it in my classroom, but you could certainly handle it however you'd like. By losing a turn, it adds some twists and turns, just like board games do. It's part of the fun. :) Ultimately, the students are still practicing the math whether or not there is a cube to remove, since they have to add their dice/number cubes together before attempting to remove the other player's cube, so you can easily address this part of the game as it suits your needs and teaching style. Thanks for stopping by!

      Aimee

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  9. Love it, my first graders loved it!

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  10. Yay! I'm so happy to hear that, Iris! I hope they continue to love it and master those math facts in the process. Thanks for stopping by!

    Aimee

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  11. Hi Aimee,
    I love the idea of this game and I can understand how the kids love it. But I am a slow learner. Why remove the cube next to the sum that was rolled?
    Thank you.

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  12. Great idea! Rather than use those link game pieces, I intend to use those flat glass circles, like in mancala. Thanks!

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  13. I love this game! I can hardly wait to use it with my 1st graders. I went to Walmart and they gave me 12 paint sticks! I didn't have to buy any paint either! Thank you so much and a big shout out to thank Walmart, too!

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  14. I love this game! I can hardly wait to use it with my 1st graders. I went to Walmart and they gave me 12 paint sticks! I didn't have to buy any paint either! Thank you so much and a big shout out to thank Walmart, too!

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  15. Hi Nettie!

    That is so great! I hope your students enjoy the game as much as mine do. Have fun getting your paint sticks ready!

    Aimee

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  16. Great idea for Talk Like a Pirate Day! Thanks.

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    1. Elizabeth,

      Oh my goodness, I love that idea so much! Enjoy!

      Aimee

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  17. Thanks so much for the idea. I stopped by Lowe's today and the nice lady in the paint department (Yay Lowe's!) gave me 8 of the big sticks. I had to sand the edges of mine down though, as they were a little sharp and splintery. Can't wait to try this out with my first graders! :)

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    1. I'm so glad you liked the idea and can use it! Eek, splintery edges is no good. I was lucky and didn't have any splintery edges on my batch of sticks, but good call on sanding them down. I hope your students love the game!

      Aimee

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  18. This sounds great! Thank you for sharing.

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  19. Thank you for sharing and for the bulleted list. I am a new teacher and have been spending my time so far this summer researching other teachers' practices, manipulatives, and ideas and forming a reference notebook for the upcoming year. Printing only your concise list allowed me to print your idea without wasting too much of my printer ink! I will definitely bookmark your page for future reference!

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    1. You're so welcome! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I'm thrilled to hear that this idea was worth saving. I hope you are able to implement it soon. :)

      Aimee

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  20. I can't wait to try this with my first graders. However, I think I will use sentence strips because last time I went to Home Depot for paint sticks the did not give me more that two I had to buy the rest.

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I'd love to hear what you have to say!