Challenging Math Games that Engage Students

I just came across Calculation Nation website and they have a set of about 10 challenging games for older elementary students all the way to high school.  As I was evaluating the site, I found myself trying to beat the computer and it was difficult to pry myself away.  If students register an account they can even challenge other players instead of just a computer.  Below are some of my favorite games and a brief explanation about them and what math concept it could help students reinforce.


This game reinforces students understanding of graphing linear equations.  Before a students is completely done, they will have used the slope intercept form, found perpendicular and parallel lines all by changing the slope and the y-intercept in order to fire a torpedo to sink ships.  The more ships they hit, the more bonus tries they get to clear the boats off the screen.  Two students can play this linear equation game if they have accounts.

Linear Equations Game


Square Off

This is probably my favorite and possibly one of the more challenging games.  Students will be able to reinforce their knowledge of square areas, but will need to calculate the perimeter of the rectangle in order to capture ships.  Students can play each other or the computer.  They gain more points for how efficient their rectangles are and how many ships they can capture at any one time.

Perimeter of a rectangle game


Factor Dazzel

Students try to beat their partner or the computer in determining factors of specific chosen numbers.  The student's goal is to choose numbers that are not prime as well as find the factors of numbers that are chosen for them.  Fairly simple math game.

Find the Number Factors Game


Fraction Feud

Students will use this educational game to try and create fractions that either larger or smaller than their competitors using only specific numbers that they are given.  Students will have to really think if they want to beat this math game.  If they use all of their good numbers up without winning the round, then they will have a hard time beating the game.  It can be challenging, but students will have a better ability to compare fractions when they are finished playing.

Comparing Fractions Game


Times Square

This multiplication facts game is great for students to practice their multiplication tables 1-9.   If you remember the "Connect Four" game, then this game will remind you of it.  You need to multiply numbers to eliminate your 100's table numbers.  They can only be used once and you can only move one slider at a time so it isn't as simple as you might think.  Students will need to play both defence and offence in this game if they are going to be able to multiply numbers for the win.

Connect 4 Multiplication Game



Dig It

In this older elementary math game, students are given numbers and a numberline.  In order to dig for gems along the numberline, they need to create an improper fractions and then choose where along the numberline that improper fraction is.  Once they have made their choice the shovel digs a hole to collect coins.  The closer to the correct placement of the number on the numberline, the deeper the hole will be dug and the more gems that can be collected.

Improper Fractions Number Line Game


Drop Zone

Drop Zone is another fraction based game where students have to add fractions up to equal one.  They gain points based on how many fractions they can add up to equal one.  

Adding Fractions Game


Flip and Slide

In this upper elementary/intermediate level math game students will enhance what they understand with regards to moving geometric shapes about a coordinate plane.  In order to collect fireflies and ladybugs, they need to tell the computer whether to translate, reflect, and rotate their triangle up, down, left and right, clockwise and counterclockwise and how many spaces as well as determine wheter to move their triangle around and about either the y or x axis.  They can make up to 4 simultaneous moves in each round.

Rotating triangles around the coordinate plane game


There are about 6 other games that are found on the Calculation Nation game site that I tried, but the ones listed in this blog post were my favorites and what I consider to be the most fun and educational and least difficult to understand game play.  For other educational resources for teachers please visit the rest of the website