Quality vs. Quantity Math Games

Feb 19, 2015

In education, there is so much content and curriculum thrown at teachers to sort through. Hundreds of hours are spent prepping, copying, and laminating game boards and pieces for math….admit it, we’ve all been there! Although some games might be really cute, they sometimes lose the focus of the rich mathematical thinking that we were trying to promote.

So the question remains…How do you choose “Quality vs. Quantity?”

Well here are  “Shannon’s Five Golden Rules” to consider when looking at “Quality” games vs. “Quantity” games. Hopefully this information will help you make a more informed decision to get the most bang for your buck with math games!

  1. The game should include the Eight Mathematical Practices at least 7 out of 8 of them.  What are the Eight Mathematical Practices? Check out this free resource, RESA Elementary Practice Placemat.
  2. The game should provide for DI, or differentiated instruction. This is a MUST!  If the game has only one level and can’t be adjusted up or down….it’s not worth it!  You need to be able to meet the needs of ALL students!
  3. The game should be low prep.  If it has too many pieces, or is overly ‘cutsy,’ like holiday themed BUMP, it’s probably not worth it.  You are losing out on the point and reason for playing the game.  Not to mention, that you just spent all that time prepping for the game to get used once and sit on the shelf until that holiday rolls around next year!
  4. The game should have accountability.  Ask yourself how your students will be accountable for the game that they are playing.  Are they turning in something while you are working with the guided math group so you know that they are actually playing the game during math workshop?
  5. The game should have longevity.  Games should be available for students to play for at least 2-3 weeks.  Putting the game away too quickly will prevent students from getting the skills and practice intended.

Be careful because there are some real duds out there!

If it doesn’t follow “Shannon’s Five Golden Rules,” ask yourself if it is worth it!
Click HERE for a cheat sheet of the rules to post in your classroom!

When you are looking for “quality” math games to implement with ease, check out these websites. They are my all around go to sites for math games k-5.




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