5 Minutes of Fun (or more)

It’s getting towards the end of the lesson and the class has either finished their work early OR getting restless, what to do?  I have a few go to games that I want to share. I’m sure none of these are original or new but usually very enjoyable.

Sprouts – this is a game that was invented in 1967 by mathematicians John H. Conway and Michael S. Paterson, when they were at the University of Cambridge. It is a simple logic game for two players with winning strategies to be discovered. For the rules check out nrich. I love this game as it can be played with just a pencil and a piece of paper. Once the class knows the rules, all I need to say is Sprouts and they can get started. Sometimes I’ll have a Sprouts contest where the winner of each pair moves round to a new opponent and the overall winner is the pupil who moves the most.

THIRTEEN – the class is arranged into a circle. The first person starts with 1 and then every person after that can say one, two or three numbers in their turn. The person who says 13 is out.

For example, person 1 says “1, 2, 3”, person 2 says “4, 5” person 3 says “6, 7, 8”,    person 4 says “9”, person 5 says “10, 11, 12” so person 6 would be out.

The game continues until there is one overall winner. Such a fun game, pupils try strategies to not only keep themselves in but also their friends and when I join in (which is always) they try to get me out. Again, no equipment needed, so no preparation required.

Make the … – I draw a set of boxes on the board

boxesThe number of boxes can be varied. I then set the class the challenge, for example, make the highest even number possible. I roll a 10 sided dice (0 -9) and the pupils have to put each number in a box as it is called out. There is a bit of a gamble about where to put each number especially if I roll an 8, will I roll a 9 or is 8 going to be the largest number? Lots of good discussion about place value, risk versus reward and probability.

Other variations, make the smallest number, odd, even, prime, multiple of, etc.  The pupil with the best answer gets a point (the points don’t lead to anything but they seem to enjoy being given a point). I always make sure I carry my 10 sided dice to cover classes with me as I never know when I might need it.

Just a few of my games here. I love having these quick and easy games to use when needed.


11 thoughts on “5 Minutes of Fun (or more)

  1. Love 13 game! I have a question… Why was person 5 out after saying “10,11,12”? Shouldn’t person 6 be out because they will need to say “13”? Also does the counting start back at one after someone gets out? Finally do the numbers always go in ascending numerical order or can students go in descending order? Thank you!


    1. Ok so that was a typo. It should say person 6. I’ve fixed it now. Thanks for spotting it. Yes the numbers go in ascending order and goes back to 1 after a person is out. If you have a large class you can play it to 21 rather than 13.


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