Algebra can be a difficult and unappealing subject for children, but a few fun activities, such as a math-based board game, can make it more attractive. Whether you are a teacher who wants to draw students' attention or a parent who aims to show the fun side of algebra, an original board game can be just what you need. Designing the game board and other parts of the game is quite straightforward, but the most challenging task is coming up with interesting rules and offering non-stop action.
Divide your 15 inch by 15 inch board into 60 squares. Draw seven rows of eight squares and one row of four squares using your ruler. Each square must measure 1 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches.
Write "Start" on the bottom left square and paint the square blue. Every 10 squares, including the 10th, 20th square and so forth, write "Help" and use green color. Write "Challenge" on the fifth square, paint it red and repeat the pattern every 10 squares.
Use only one color for the remaining blocks, such as yellow. However, the last square must include the word "Winner" and feature a distinct color.
Create a 25 "Help" cards and another 25-card set for "Challenge." "Help" cards must include easy algebra tasks, such as showing a pizza cut in four and asking the fraction each slice represents. "Challenge" cards must contain more difficult tasks, including equations, such as 3x+5-x=14.
Paint the back of the "Help" cards green and the back of the "Challenge" cards red. Each time a player falls on a "Help" square, he has to do an easy task to move to the next green square automatically, otherwise he must go five squares back. The same applies to "Challenge" cards, but with much harder assignments.
Cover a die's sides with white stickers. Replace the dots with the symbols of math operations, such as "+," "-," "×" and "÷." Include the addition and subtraction symbols twice.
Instruct players to throw one ordinary die first to get a number, then the symbols die and afterward another ordinary die for the second number. Players must move as many blocks as the operation's result, but only if they can find it first. If the result is a decimal number, such as 6/4=1.5, then players must round the result.
Explain that the winner is the first player to surpass 60, even if he reaches 61, 65 and so on. Allow players to create their own personal playing piece or use a small toy, such as a toy soldier, as long as you can distinguish it from other players' pieces.
If the game takes place in a classroom, divide the class into groups of five. This way, you avoid the chaos of more than 10 participants playing the game simultaneously.
Keep a timer for each task. A player must solve ordinary dice rolls and "Help" cards in half a minute and "Challenge" cards in two minutes. Adjust times according to the participants' level.