Fun Maths Games To Engage Your Pupils

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Maths can sometimes be a real marmite subject. Some people just get it, and others have to work a little harder. Getting a good handle on it from a young age is really important, but motivation can be tricky. This very short list includes a couple of games that can be played to keep maths  interesting.

Competitions
This one has to be handled right – as it has to reward the able, and inspire those behind them. Keeping it less focused on public performance can help, so be careful not to put the children on the spot too much. Something simple as a quick fire multiplication test (on paper) can be really effective. Put down numbers one to twenty, and then the teacher reels off various sums for the students to work out quickly. It encourages quick arithmetic, and for the students to memorise their times tables. Or a more panel/team based quiz can help to add some fun and an element of competition, whilst not singling the children out. 
Bingo
A well-known concept, Bingo, except with the added twist that instead of just saying out the numbers – equations are given instead Make a bingo card for each pupil that includes a series of numbers that differs slightly from player to player. Then come up with a series of equations where ‘x’ corresponds to each of these numbers. Put the equations into a hat and start drawing equations one by one. The winner is the pupil fastest enough to work out their equations and have score a ‘full house’ on their bingo card.
Shop Role playing
More suitable for the Primary school pupils, but role playing  a transaction at a shop  not only helps to encourage work with decimals, but also adds a real-world application to the maths lesson. This is an idea that can go as far as having the students interact with a desk between them and fake money, or give them a  budgeting scenario to figure out. For example, get them to plan a budget for throwing a party and mark them on how well they choose to spend that money. 
Co-ordinate pictures
Often a pre-Christmas fall back, making pictures using co-ordinates can be a great way to practise the use of grids. This is also a skill that will be required for other subjects such as the sciences, so it is important that they have it well honed. Allowing them to colour the pictures in afterwards is also to be advised, mainly because it is fun.
This is just a sample of the way that maths can be applied to slightly more active participation than simply going through exercises. Being able to play in class is a great way of rewarding pupils for good work, and being able to participate in games will mean they gain their own reward by seeing how they are doing well.
Can you think of any fun maths games, or played any good ones at school? Share in comments below
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Freddie Goldsmith is a fan of storytelling, in all forms. She has benefitted from being given the motivation to improve a not-so-natural maths skill and she blogs for Carrot Rewards
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