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Evil Numbers Game

author:  Pat Brousseau
level:  Elementary
target_English:  Numbers

I use this to practice numbers. Keep your math limited to the grade - don't give division questions to first graders, but simple addition will probably bore the sixth graders. Usually I keep track of points by attributing them to a boy team and girl team, but if numbers are mismatched just divide the class in half.

Begin by reviewing the target numbers (1-12, 12-20, 20-31, 100 etc). Then write a simple math question on the board to get them started. Say the numbers as you write them - "Ten plus five!" as you write 10+5, for example. Tell students to raise their hand if they know the answer in English. Choose a student with their hand up, and if they're right, write the solution on the board.

The reason I call it the Evil Numbers game is because it gets progressively harder. After a few simple addition or subtraction questions, try something like 10+5-6. Or algebra - 10 + X = 15 or (1 + 4) x ( 3 - 2 ). The last question is sure to stump the class but produce a big laugh from the teacher. I usually give them something like (1+3+17-4x40+7540)x(2-2). Usually one student will figure out very quickly that the answer is zero while the rest of them scratch their heads. So not only do they get English number practice, they learn to think outside the box, as the saying goes.

For big groups, this works well in the gym. Have two students from each team come up and attempt to answer a question. To keep them moving, have the losing team jump the number of times written on the board as the solution - if team A answers correctly that 10-2=8, then team B must jump 8 times! Spin works well too.

Pat Brousseau




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