Zapped Math Game

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This fast-paced math game is simple to learn and very easy to accommodate every student in your classroom! 

You will need:

  • Large Craft Sticks: 40-50 for every 4 students. 
  • A wide mouth container.  A standard canning jar or pickle jar works great.  If your jar is clear, you'll want to slip a piece of construction paper or cardstock around the inside so that students can't see what is written on the craft sticks.  
  • A permanent marking pen. Sharpie's work great for writing math problems on the craft sticks.  You can also print off this times table PDF sheet that includes all multiplication problems from 2-12. Simply cut and glue to the ends. 

Now, it's time to set it up.  Write a times table problem at the end of each stick using the permanent marker.  For every 10-15 problems you write on the end of the popsicle stick, add in 1 "ZAP", 1 "LOSE TURN", and 1 "DRAW AGAIN" stick.  

The rules are simple:   

  1. With the timer set at 7 minutes, players take turns drawing 1 craft stick.  If the multiplication problem is answered correctly, the player keeps the stick.  If the problem is not answered correctly, the stick is placed back into the jar.    
  2. Whoever collects the most sticks at the end of 7 minutes, wins the game.  
  3. BUT WATCH OUT!  If you get a stick with ZAP on it, you have to put ALL your sticks back!  That's not all!  The LOSE A TURN stick will also give you grief.  If you draw one of those sticks, you'll need to put that stick back and wait your turn.  However, you may be lucky and get a DRAW AGAIN stick.  If you get a DRAW AGAIN stick, you get to keep that stick and also draw another.  Yippee!
  4. Want to add a little "chance" into the mix?  Then write TRADE on one of the sticks. If you get the Trade stick, you can swap your whole pile of sticks with whoever you want! (optional)  Or what about adding a stick that says Lose 3 Sticks? Be creative and add even more excitement to this math game.    

So how can you make this the perfect game for kids of different ages and abilities?  I use this at home with my 7-year-old and my 11-year-old AND my 13-year-old all at the SAME time.

 I simply write basic multiplication problems ranging from 2-9 on one side with a black marker.  

With a red marker, I flip the same stick over and write more complex multiplication problems  (formulas for geometry, exponents, order of operations problems, etc.) on the other side.

For my youngest daughter (who is in first grade) I purchased a set of colored craft sticks. 

With a permanent marker, I wrote sight words and addition and subtraction problems.  This way, all three of my daughters stay engaged and learn the material they need to for their major school subjects.  If all three of them want to play at the same time, I put all sticks in the same jar.  

My 13-year-old knows she must choose a plain-colored stick and find the math problem written in red ink. My 11-year-old daughter also chooses a plain-colored stick and find the problem written with black ink.  My 7-year-old daughter knows she must choose a colored stick. It's so much fun for all of them!  

To see the game ZAPPED in action, watch the following video: