Here’s a game that’s almost infinitely flexible and is one of my very favourites for working with children. There are two parts of the board; one section consists of a grid of hexagons (though you’re welcome to use squares):

Write a number into each hexagon:

When it is your turn to play you choose two numbers you wish to add together and cover them with counters:

Now we come to the scoring, which is where the second part of the board comes in. This is a set of five scoring boxes which tells you how many points you gain:

What makes the game indispensable to me is that it’s so completely open. I can change the range of numbers, using bigger numbers, smaller numbers, fractions, decimals, or negative numbers. I can require children to add three numbers or more rather than two. Or I can change the rule – I can ask children to double a chosen number or multiply by 3 or 4 …, or ask them to subtract two chosen numbers.

The scoring boxes take this flexibility further. I can adjust them for each new game, but I can also change the points on offer as well.

Not only that, but I can offer bonus points, for example for doing calculations mentally.

By starting with a relatively gentle game I can increase the amount of challenge that children will accept, sometimes to quite amazing lengths – recently I had a pupil begging to be allowed to add eight decimals together mentally if only he could have another bonus point!

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