Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Odd One Out- Math Strategy Game {With A Freebie}

Do your students like to play games? Do they like to play math games? Do they like strategy games? I am going to share a math strategy game with you. It is called Odd One Out. I learned about this game last year at a workshop. There wasn't a game board or a recording sheet, so of course I *had* to make one. We started playing it during the first few weeks of school this year and it is still one of the favorite games during math workshop. My students last year, figured out the strategy pretty quickly. My group this year... not so much. A few of them "think" they have a strategy figured out, so I challenge them to a game and prove their strategy wrong!

To play the game, students need 15 math chips. You could use just about any sort of counter or chip that you have in your classroom. Students are in groups of two to play the game. If you have an odd number, you can play too! Another option would be to put three students in a group and have them rotate each game (two students playing, one student recording). Students also need the Odd One Out Game Board and the Recording Sheet. I have uploaded these as a FREEBIE for you! Click here to download them.

The way the game works, students place all 15 chips onto the game board where the little snowballs are. They should have 3 in the top row, 5 in the middle row and 7 in the bottom row. Color doesn't matter. Then they take turns removing chips. They can remove any number from any one row. They cannot take chips from multiple rows. This means that they could remove all of the chips in one row in one turn or only take one chip. The choice is theirs.

When they have taken a chip or chips from a row, they need to record it on the sheet. My students got a system figured out... if you are taking the chips, the other player records for you. It works out really well. Let's look at this picture so that I can explain what I mean by record their move.
This student is going to remove two chips from the top row. They would record under player one, 2 T. You can totally have your students write the full word (top, middle, bottom), but for me a T, M or B does the trick.

Then it is the next players turn to take chips. This continues until one of the players clears the last chip(s). Let me tell you, the first few moves are fast... then all of the sudden playing comes to a near standstill while a player is trying to figure out their move. Talk about deep thinking!!! They have to plan ahead and try to guess what the other player might do. Here are some pictures of my students mid-action.
You can see little plastic cups in the pictures? These are portion containers that you can find at most grocery stores in the plastic cups/paper plate aisle. These little containers have lids. I use them to keep my math chips in specific amounts for certain games. I have a few different sets of these containers labeled with a game title on the lid. This one is for a game called Bump which requires each player to have 8 chips (2 different colors). I put 16 chips in each cup and labeled the cup Bump. With the game, Odd One Out, the color of the chips doesn't matter and they only need 15 chips... so my kiddos know to just grab a bump chip container and they are good to go. So slick!

My favorite part about this game is seeing the strategies that my students come up with. They are all very interesting and most of the time the strategy is one I would have never come up with. Students can show me their strategies on Fridays during math workshop. This is their chance to "challenge the teacher-master". Basically... that means they get to explain their strategy to the class and then face off against me under the document camera. Only once has a student figured out the strategy (and that was last year). I let my class keep trying over and over again. A few of my students said that they have played the game at home with random things like legos as the chips. *insert thrilled teacher here*

I hope that this is a game that you can use with your students. It is definitely a game that is fast and you could use it in between instruction times if you have a few extra minutes. I know with testing looming over all of us, there is always a few minutes here or there. Make sure you grab the freebie to use with your class. The recording sheet is totally optional. I like to see the steps my students take, but it could easily be skipped. Hope you love it!

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