# Fun, Interactive Games to Teach Complex Math Skills

By Lisa King

In middle school, students are working with fractions and integers, and they are beginning to learn algebra. Math games will help students master these important math skills that are often needed to solve real life problems.

## Learning Complex Math

Adding and subtracting fractions or comparing and ordering integers and proportions can be difficult for middle school students to master. Math games played in middle school math class will hold children’s attention and make learning easy and fun. Children will have fun and practice important math skills while playing games like fraction bingo, an adapted version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," and an integer race card game.

## Fraction Bingo

Middle school students will love playing bingo while practicing adding and subtracting fractions. Provide each child with blank, nine-square bingo game cards.

Create calling cards by writing a variety of fraction addition or subtraction problems on the calling card. For example: 2/3 – 1/3 and 5/8 + 2/8, and then the teacher will write the answers to the problems on the board such as 1/3 and 7/8.

Instruct students to copy the fraction answers from the board onto the blank bingo cards. The teacher will call a fraction addition or subtraction problem. Using a piece of scratch paper and pencil, the students will solve the problem and place their bingo marker on the correct answer on their bingo board. Continue until somebody has a full card and calls “BINGO."

## Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Practice adding and subtracting integers, division problems, fractions or proportion problems while playing a game similar to “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

Directions:

• Divide students into two separate teams.
• The teacher will write a variety of math problems on index cards or heavy card stock paper ahead of time.
• Each question should have four answers from which to choose. For example, a \$100 question may ask "What is the answer to 30 x 5 =?" A. 100 B. 400, C. 150 or D. 350.
• A \$500 question may ask something like how much a \$20.00 shirt with a 25% discount would cost. If the child answered \$15 they would move up to the next level.
• The money scale for the questions is as follows: \$100, \$200, \$300, \$500, \$1,000, \$2,000, \$4,000, \$8,000, \$16,000, \$32,000, \$64,000, \$125,000, \$250,000, \$500,000 and \$1,000,000 dollar questions.
• The two teams race to see who can reach one million dollars.
• The teacher asks each team the questions, and the players take turns answering the questions.
• Each team is allowed two life lines or cheats. Two choices can be eliminated for one cheat, and team members can take a survey from the class for the second cheat.
• If a student answers a question incorrectly, the entire team goes back to zero or the selected safe level. When a child reaches \$500, if they answer incorrectly, they go back to \$500 next level \$4,000, \$16,000 and \$250,000.
• The first team to reach one million dollars or get the closest in the allotted time frame wins the game.

The teacher may award the winner a free pizza certificate or other incentive.

## Integer Race Card Game

Students will compare integers and put them in the correct order from smallest to largest while playing this card game

Materials:

120-160 index cards or six per student

Black marker

Directions:

The teacher will write one integer on 120 index cards (-1, -2, -3 to 1, 2, 3) or enough so that each child has six cards. Students will deal six cards to each player and place the remaining cards face down. When the teacher says "Go," the students will race to put the cards in the correct order from smallest to largest. When finished, the student shouts "Finished." The child who correctly orders all the integers first wins the game.

Once students have mastered comparing and ordering integers, the teacher can write subtraction and addition integer problems on cards and have students race to solve the problems. The first person to get all six correct answers first wins the game. Some questions may include + 7 + +5 = +12, -8 + -4 = -12, and +8 + -4 = +4 .The teacher will check the answers.

## Proportion Relay

A proportion is an equation with a ratio on each side. Students will race to the finish line while solving proportions. The teacher will ask each student a proportion problem. Two students at a time will race to solve the proportion. The first child to solve it will walk ahead three spaces. Repeat until one child reaches the designated finish line. Problems may be written in fraction form or as word problems depending on students' skill level. Questions may include: 1/2 = x/4 solve x or reduce 2/25 in lowest terms. Word problems may also be used.

## Additonal Math Games for Middle School

There are a large variety of fun, interactive online games available to teach middle school children complex math skills. Play Ratio Martian, Ratio Stadium or Dirt Bike Comparing Fractions at Arcademic Skill Builders. Sixth graders will also love playing Action Fraction. One thing for sure, math games hold children’s attention and interest and make learning fractions, comparing integers and other hard math skills more plausible and enjoyable.

## References

Author' own experience.