• Dr. Monica Cavender

I'm thinking of a Number...



Parents are often looking for practice in helping their children learn mathematics. By practice, the perception is that pages of worksheets provide meaningful practice. Yet, research illustrates having kids fill out worksheet after worksheet often creates a feeling of dread and negative disposition towards doing mathematics.


When you learn a new idea in mathematics, it is important to reinforce the idea, and the best way to do that is by using it in different ways. At Zach’s Backpack, we strive to provide diverse and enjoyable games for parents and their children.

The game, I’m thinking of a Number is super easy and flexible. You can do it in the car, at a restaurant, or just about anywhere. It can be played using simple to complex numbers to meet the needs of all types of mathematical thinkers. It's fun practice!


I’m Thinking of A Number ~ Take turns listing clues and guessing.

· The number is greater than the number of pennies in a dime

· The number is less than the number of pennies in quarter

· The number is an odd number

· If you count by 5’s you say the number.

· The sum of the digits is 8.

· What is my number?

Here’s another example:

  • The number is greater than 6 x 4.

  • The number is less than 8 x 7.

  • The number is even.

  • The number is a multiple of 3.

  • The difference of the digits is four.

  • What is my number?

Children can make their own list of clues for parents to solve. The level of complexity they share in their clues provides good insight as to what they think is a challenge. They can guess a number and you can tell them if it is bigger or smaller than the number you have in mind. With each guess, they can narrow down which numbers it could be. Then have your child take a turn with giving the clues.


You can find more of these problems in Terry Kawas’ books here: http://mathwire.com/problemsolving/guessthenumber.pdf and http://mathwire.com/hblogic/hblogic2.pdf

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