- Math board games are good teaching tools.chance image by Francesca Marcolini from Fotolia.com
Old-fashioned board games create hands-on experiences--moving pieces and rolling dice--and tactile learning creates lasting impact. According to a 2007 study at Carnegie Mellon University, a major reason for poor performance of students in math is the absence of number board games. There are fun board games you can play to improve math skills.
- If you have preschoolers, this lively counting game is the ticket for you. It's so simple--just move your bright yellow bus around the board, stopping to pick up and drop off passengers. The winner is the player with the most passengers at the end of the game. It introduces arithmetic in a clever way, adding or subtracting passengers based on a plus or minus sign, familiarizing kids with those symbols without the added complexity of figuring out the resulting sum. This reduces math anxiety down the line, as learning concepts one at a time lessens the steepness of the learning curve. According to American sociologist Herbert Blumer's Symbolic Interaction theory, early experiences associated with the plus or minus symbol will have significant affect on later understanding of the concepts of addition and subtraction.
- This popular resource-based game involves trading, building and planning around the circumstances of Neolithic living. You choose historically relevant situations and then activate your staffed areas--gathering resources and raising animals, for example. You must have enough to feed your populations, or you lose points. This game uses multiplication, making it revolutionary for its genre.
- Much like Scrabble letters make words, this game allows you to build equations across the board as long as they are accurate mathematical statements. This game fosters the development of rudimentary algebra skills. Rather than just adding up your numbers, you are looking for numbers that fit your math statement: x + 3 = 5 means you have to solve for "x." Similarly, if you add tiles to math statements already on the board, you must solve for which tiles fit.
- This game lives up to its title. You roll four dice and choose the sum of two dice to decide where to place your peg, based on the relative probability of rolling the same sum again, either with the same or a different combination of numbers on the dice. You move your peg up the row of holes, marked 1 through 12, only if you roll the correct number again. The winner is the one to reach the top of his row.
- This game allows the acquisition of money through other means than just taking it from another player. The object of Power Grid is to supply power to cities and bid to buy the power plants needed for it. According to David Gale's "Theory of Economic Models," this open system is a more realistic model of an economy. This is a family game for teenagers and adults.