Math Game Monday: Chomp

“Chomp” is free on this website for one week only. It’s an excerpt from 312 Things To Do with a Math Journal, available as an ebook at my bookstore (Thank you for cutting out the middleman!) and in ebook or paperback through many online retailers. Read more about my playful math books here.

Many parents remember struggling to learn math. We hope to provide a better experience for our children.

And one of the best ways for children to enjoy learning is through hands-on play.

This game pushes students to think ahead and deduce their opponent’s strategy.

Chomp

Math Concepts: logic and strategic thinking.

Players: two players.

Equipment: pencil and paper.

How to Play

Draw a “candy bar” grid at least 3×3 squares in size. Mark the top left square as poison. Players take turns eating the candy.

To take a bite, you choose any grid square and mark it out. You must also mark all the squares to the right and below that square, as if you broke off a whole chunk of the candy bar. Each bite must consist of whole grid squares — no fractional bites allowed!

This method of eating squares will push the players up and to the left. Whoever is forced to take the final square loses the game.

Variations

Use the game as a journaling prompt. Here are some sample questions:

• What is your strategy for winning?
• Do you think this is a fair game, or does one player have an advantage?
• How would you count score, so you could compare your performance from one game to the next?
• How would you modify the game rules? Is your version easier or harder than the original game?
• Do you prefer logical strategy games or games of chance? Or do the best games have a bit of both? Explain.

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