Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Board Games in Mathematics

One strategy for investigating decision making, statistics and probability is through games. Common examples are Scrabble tile frequencies, board distribution in Monopoly/Snakes & Ladders, card/dice probabilities, chess, chinese checkers, draughts, dominoes, Uno, Numero.

I have been experimenting (in the "play needs to be taught" theme) with a number of different board and card games with some success. My favourite six games used at end of term are as follows:

Ticket to ride (Europe): 1 hr duration, Networks, probability, mental computation, decision making.
Carcassone: 1 hr duration, Networks, probability, mental computation, decision making.
Dork Tower: 1 hr duration, Probability, decision making, estimation.
Portabello Market: 1 hr duration, mental computation, probability, decision making.
Munchkin: Decision making, reading, mental computation, probability.
Thurn & Taxis: Set construction, probability, decision making, mental computation.
Apples to Apples: Reading for understanding, proportion, decision making.

These sorts of games can be used to assess how able students can follow instructions, work with others, stay on task, cooperate, teach others, analyse probabilities and statistics from scenarios or how to create an instruction set.

Favourite other games from my childhood:
Battletech, BattleLore, Illuminati, Paranoia, Risk, Shogun, Talisman.

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