Create Your Own Game (Days 1 - 3)

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SWBAT create their own math board game.

Big Idea

Students review concepts learned throughout the year by developing and creating their own board game. Peers review the games and questions on the second day.


10 minutes

Day 1 - During the first day warm up, I start by giving the students questions, in rapid succession, that cover the knowledge and skills learned throughout the year.  This covers place value, multiplication, fractions, area, and geometry. For this activity, I derive questions and resources from the K-5 Math Teaching Resources website.  These different questions can be tailored for your own review.  The goal of the review is to create a challenging pace for the students in answering the questions, to mimic the urgency of the computer games my students play.

After the warm-up, I ask the student to name their favorite board game.  They share first with their shoulder partners.  Many of their responses include games such as Sorry, Monopoly, and Clue.  


10 minutes

This lesson sets up challenging questions.  Because writing across the curriculum is an essential part of the Common Core standards, I want students to create and write challenging problems requiring a level of thinking that is beyond finding the unknown in a number sentence, or questions that require students to only identify "the" answer.

In order to be successful with these questions, I determined it would be necessary to break the task of writing questions into different blocks.  I first have students create five questions based on multiplication facts.  Even though this is not the goal, having the students write these questions builds the complexity, in manageable steps.

I model for the students how to write these questions, and then we move on to writing comparison questions together.  Once the students start sharing ideas with me and other students next to them, I have them begin writing their own questions.  

Create Games

40 minutes

Day 1 - The next type of questions I had the students create were comparison questions.  I challenged the students to create 10 different problems requiring a comparison using the Common Core domains of:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Numbers and Operations in Base Ten
  • Numbers and Operation - Fractions
  • Measurement and Data
  • Geometry

Most of the students write two comparison questions for each domain.  

In this video, the students share their work and discuss how division is the opposite of multiplication.  It is is this focus on the operations that I am looking for in their development of questions, as well as their explanations for clarity and communication.  This will affect the development of questions and using concise language.  

Day 2 - The next type of questions the students created were word problems with two steps.  These types of word problems had been used earlier in the year, and I provide Multi Step Word Problems from the K-5 Math Teaching Resources website.  I encourage the students to create their own problems similar to these types of questions.

I challenge the students to create even more complicated questions for the final set.  There are not specific parameters for these questions, but I suggest that these questions be "tasks" including ordering fractions, drawing shapes, and evaluating the solutions to a number sentence using order of operations.

This lesson requires an extra day to write questions.  My objective is on quality of the questions, and encouraging students to dig deeply into their thinking, and that isn't something that can be rushed. It is something that could be completed in one day if the math schedule can be extended or you can incorporate the writing into other curriculum areas. 

Game Review

30 minutes

Day 3 - To complete this lesson, the students were given the opportunity to review another student's game by playing the game and answering the questions.  Each student was given the opportunity to provide feedback both verbally and in writing. The students played their games with one other person for feedback.  While students wrote their questions on Day 1 and Day 2 of this lesson, they also created an answer key.