This is the simplest of ideas in maths. But like most things that seem simple, there is a lot that we assume or take for granted with this idea. It is good to make sure that amounts of objects are associated with numbers as opposed to just focussing on the ability to count (or sing) out numbers. That’s the purpose of this game.
To start, get two egg boxes and tape them together. You’ll also need 12 small objects that would easily fit into an egg box (not an egg though!). Small lego bricks would be fine for example.
Starting the Game
The basic game play works like this. Throw your pieces into the egg box. If the piece lands in an empty space in the egg box, that’s great, you can take another go. If it lands in an occupied space or misses the egg boxes, discount that throw and your go is over. Count how many throws you had and look at the pattern that you’ve made. Create a card that shows the number of pieces and their position. e.g. Use the downloadable template to create your cards.
Adding challenge to the game
Another way to play this game is to start by laying out the cards in the downloadable template. Then play the game as normal, each person’s turn continuing until they miss. Once their go is over, they can see if they can find a card that would be the same arrangement as their egg boxes now. They do this by checking up to 3 cards. They can only see the number so they have to choose each card based on the number.
If they find a card with the same pattern (they might need to rotate it to make it match by the way), they can keep it.
If not, they make a card that represents their number and arrangement and place that with the other cards, on display.
Now it’s the next person’s turn and they play in the same way. The winner would be the person with the most cards after 5 or 8 turns each.
Modifying the Game
We tried this game in one of our maths clubs and straight away some of the children modified the rules and way the game was played. One of the changes was to the shape of the grid (we were using magnetic squares so it was easier to do that). There are lots of ways that it is possible to change the rules. If you come up with a good way to do it, please let us know.