Here’s a little game that I like to use at the start or the end of a lesson – or even in the middle of a double period.

It is very simple and needs very little preparation which is always a bonus.

I don’t have a name for it so I am just going to call it “Memory Blast”.

Start by displaying this on the board:

This should only be displayed for one minute. I tell students that they only have one minute to remember where the numbers are on the grid. This usually makes them smile and relax as they think the game is going to be very easy.

Once the grid has been removed/hidden from the board, I then ask questions.

Examples of questions I might ask are:

- what number is in the top left corner?
- what is the sum of the bottom row?
- what is the total of the four corners?
- what is the product of the middle column?
- what is the sum of the whole grid?
- what is the difference between the bottom right squared and the top right cubed?

There are many options to be asked and can lead to great discussions about strategies for working out the answer.

As an extension, I like to ask if any student wants to create the question for the class. Many of my students like to make up a really difficult question – without realising that they have to be able to work it out in order to check the answers.

Another extension I sometimes use is to try a bigger grid, maybe 4 x 4, or to change the order of the numbers, maybe reverse them or swap the rows and columns.

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What a fun mental math activity!

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