Topic: Mathematical Games

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  • Manipulatives (1)
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Mathematical Practices
Mathematical Practices
  • MP1 - Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. (2)
  • MP2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (2)
  • MP3 - Construct viable arguments and critique others' reasoning. (2)
  • MP4 - Model with mathematics. (2)
  • MP5 - Use appropriate tools strategically. (1)
  • MP6 - Attend to precision. (2)
  • MP7 - Look for and make use of structure. (2)
  • MP8 - Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. (2)

Liar’s Bingo

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From recognizing a pattern to generating terms, to abstracting and making inferences, tasks based on patterns embody the “low-threshold, high-ceiling” trait of good problems. Liar’s Bingo is all about patterns. This session involves recognizing patterns and searching for underlying structure, number theory, numeration, and potentially binary arithmetic. Sometimes, as in the game of Liar’s Bingo, order seems to arise magically from something we first assume to be random or chaotic. In this case, we use the game of Liar’s Bingo to engage participants’ desire to find patterns, and supercharge that desire by demonstrating a magic trick that captivates attention by...

Locked Out: A Breakout Box Session for Your Circle

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Escape Rooms and “Bomb Disposal” activities are growing in popularity as a form of team building and entertainment. This session blends the two ideas to create a cooperative math activity where the challenge is to solve math problems whose solutions generate combinations to open a locked box. The math problems can be selected to fit any audience, and the activity appeals to problem solvers of all ages.

Match or No Match

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In this session, participants will explore the Match-No Match game: two players each draw one chip out of a bag – if the color of the chips match Player 1 wins, if not Player 2 wins. Under what conditions is this a fair game? How do we know? How can we construct a fair game? What variations of this game are possible? Participants will explore these questions to determine how this game connects to other mathematical problems.

Mathematical Games

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This session includes 15 games using manipulatives or paper and pencil. The goal is to decide which one of the two players has a winning strategy. To solve a game means to find a winning, or a non-losing, strategy for one of the players. An answer must include a detailed description of such strategy, and you have to explain what the winning player should do so that this player wins regardless of his opponent’s moves.

These games may be presented as a single circle session, or individually in a circle or classroom.

Mathematical Magic for Muggles

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Presented are several easy-to-perform feats that suggest supernatural powers such as telepathy, “seeing fingers,” predicting the future, photographic memory, etc. Each trick uses simple mathematical ideas that allow information to flow effortlessly and sneakily, among them simple, efficient “coding” parity and other invariants symmetry probability One can approach these activities in many ways. At first, you may want to figure out HOW to do a trick. Then, you want to know WHY it works. Finally, you should strive to understand REALLY WHY it works: is there a simple theme or principle behind your possibly complex explanation? Look for simple and...

The Roommate Game: An Exploration of Stable Matchings

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College students need to be matched with a roommate. They each make a list of who they prefer to room with. Given the preference lists for each individual, can we find a matching that is stable? That is, would any pair ask to change rooms because they would rather room together than with their current roommates? Explorations lead to new questions or new avenues to investigate using various mathematical methods including, but not limited to, combinatorics, graph theory, or matrices.

Game of Criss-Cross

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The purpose for having students play the game of Criss-Cross is to motivate them to explain the underlying mathematical reason governing who wins or loses. This exploration should lead the students to form, test, and ultimately prove conjectures about how to win at Criss-Cross. The game illustrates a beautiful application of the Euler characteristic and gives them practice at elementary counting techniques as well.