Math Game Monday: The Nickel Game

“The Nickel Game” is free on this website for one week only. It’s an excerpt from 70+ Things To Do with a Hundred Chart, 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 logic game will get your elementary students thinking about numbers and strategy.

The Nickel Game

Math Concepts: counting larger numbers, less-than and greater-than, logical thinking.

Players: two players or two teams.

Equipment: your choice of printed hundred chart (optional), or players may work mentally after agreeing on the range of numbers allowed.

The free 50-page PDF Hundred Charts Galore! file features printable 1–100 charts, 0–99 charts, bottom’s-up versions, multiple-chart pages, blank charts, game boards, and more. Choose one of the full-size numbered charts for this game.

How to Play

Give each player (or team) twenty nickels. Small tokens like dried beans or colored glass gems would also work, and you can even use crumpled bits of paper.

One player chooses a secret number on the chart, or within the agreed-upon range.

The second player makes a guess by placing a nickel on any square. Or if playing mentally, the player sets down a nickel and says the number aloud. The first player signals thumb-up if the secret number is greater than the guess or thumb-down if it is less.

Or you can practice math vocabulary. The first player can say, “My number is greater (or less) than [name the number guessed].”

The second player continues to “buy” guesses with nickels until the secret number is revealed. The first player collects all the nickels on the board.

Then the second player chooses a number for the first one to guess, paying one nickel per guess as before.

Play an even number of games, so each player has the same number of chances to gather nickels. Whoever collects the most money is the champion.

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