There are many different ways to differentiate math games in your classroom. By taking one game and playing it in three different ways, you can easily cater for all learners. Today, we will look at how to differentiate a basic counting game. We will look at how to make the game more challenging for advanced students, how to make the game easier for struggling students, and how to add a fun twist to the game for all students. Let’s get started!
Why You Should Differentiate Math Games?
Differentiating math games is important because it allows all students to be challenged and engaged in the game. When students are challenged and engaged, they are more likely to learn and retain the material. This is especially important for math games because they often involve complex concepts that can be difficult for students to understand. By differentiating the game, you can ensure that all students are challenged and engaged in the game.
Read more about differentiation, including a FREE download on 6 ways to differentiate Math Games.
Should Students Play Games in Mixed Ability Groupings?
Firstly, should students play games in mixed ability groups? Often my answer is YES! But not always… There are pros and cons to having students play games in mixed ability groupings. On the one hand, it can be an opportunity for students of all abilities to learn from each other and support each other. On the other hand, it can be more challenging for the teacher to differentiate the game so that all students are challenged and engaged. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to have students play in mixed ability groupings is up to the teacher and can be dependent on the game you are playing.
If you decide to have students play in mixed ability groupings, there are a few things you can do to differentiate the game so that all students are challenged. First, you can give different students different roles. For example, you can have the more advanced students be the game leaders and the struggling students be the ones who keep track of the score. This way, all students are still engaged in the game and playing an important role. Second, you can give different students different tasks to complete during the game. For example, you can have the more advanced students solve harder problems while the struggling students solve easier problems. All students are still challenged and engaged in the game. It also helps those students who need that push or motivation to try that bit harder!
One Game, Three Ways
I am going to take one maths game and show you how you can play it three different ways to cater for everyone in your classroom. The maths game is called “Three or More” and is a FREE download in my K-2 Maths Game pack. Click on the image below to download a copy.
Students roll 5 6-sided dice. If they get 2 or more of a “kind” (a number) then they put those dice aside and roll the remaining dice again. If they get 5 of a kind, students get 5 points. 4 of a kind, 4 points and 3 of a kind, 3 points. If they don’t get any matching numbers, that student scores 0 and their turn is over.
Students write their score on a mini whiteboard.
Students then swap turns. Continue to play for an allocated amount of time and then calculate the total score for each player.
Make it Easier
Start with 3 dice. Students get 2 points for 2 of a kind and 3 points for 3 of a kind. Students can collect counters to keep score. At the end of the game, count their counters to see who wins.
Make it Harder
Some ideas include:
- Use a 10-sided dice
- Have a target number that students need to reach
- Increase the number of dice used
A Fun Twist
Students can use the remaining dice left to make a number (eg. if they have rolled 3 x 5’s but then have a 3 and a 2 on two other dice, they can add those together to make 5 and still have it count)
As you can see, it is fairly simple to differentiate this game. All it took was changing the number of dice used, or the number of dice. All students could play this game at the same time, but by putting students in like ability groupings, they are then able to play an easier or harder version of this game.
Don’t forget you can download this game and 4 other games suitable for K-2 classrooms using this link. Grade 3-4 classrooms can download 5 free Math games using this link.
By differentiating the game, you can ensure that all students are challenged and engaged. This is important because it allows all students to learn and retain the material. Differentiating math games is easy and can be a lot of fun for all students!
Read more about differentiation, including a FREE Posters on 6 ways to differentiate Math Games.
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