Every holiday we run clubs for primary school children to practise maths skills.
We focus on the Pokemon trading card game – place values, addition and subtraction, multiplication, and division are all covered with the dealing and modifying of damage every turn.
But there’s a few other games we use, often where the maths comes in with the scoring. There’s quite a few games we use for these clubs, each with a focus on probability, basic operations, and shape and space. However sometimes the scoring can appear quite complex, so we have produced a few resources to scaffold (that is, to break down into manageable chunks children can do independently) the maths in some of the more advanced games. We laminate these sheets to they can be reused, and children write the numbers with whiteboard markers.
Zuuli, the pick-and-pass zoo building game, scores at the end of every round. Although the numbers involved aren’t usually very complex, the number of steps can seem overwhelming to some children. So, to avoid needing so much adult support, we’ve created a new score sheet to help. If any of the steps are unfamiliar to the children then they can focus on the operations they understand best, and get support on the trickier elements (images kindly provided by Unfringedthings)
Sushi Go is another quick fire, easy to learn game, with sneaky maths undertones. In Sushi Go you’re given a hand of cards, each of them represent a famous Japanese dish. Then you choose one – one you think will score you the most points – and pass the rest of the cards to the next person. Then, you pick up the cards from your other neighbour, choose a card, pass on, etc, etc, etc until there’s no cards left.
But each card scores differently and provides a different opportunity for practising some basic numeracy. Wazabi, for example, needs multiplication to figure out. Maki Rolls compare numbers. Dumplings score according to a particular sequence.
Then at the end of the round you add up all the scores. You do that for three rounds, add everything together, and compare scores.
None of this maths is ‘hard’ (by adult standards), but holding all theses different scores in your head can tax your working memory – especially if mental maths is a skill you’re still perfecting as a child. So we created some score sheets to be able to take some of the load off working memory to allow greater focus on the maths.
Kingdomino is our final sheet for now. The scoring requires some multiplication of crowns by the number of squares of each landscape. One small issue with the design is that it’s possible to have 2 or 3 different clusters of the same landscape (not all of your fields, for example, may be connected).