Key Stage 1 Maths - Three in A Row…or Not?

Key Stage 1 Maths - Three in A Row…or Not?

Learning Objective: Geometry – Position and Direction - order and arrange combinations of mathematical objects in patterns and sequences



Counters : for example stones and small sticks, shells and leaves


Take the children outside and divide them in to pairs. Give each pair some chalk. Ask the children to draw a ‘tic, tac, toe’ grid on the floor (3x3 grid) using metre sticks. Ask each pair to play another pair a game of ‘tic, tac, toe’


Now ask the children to draw grid of 6 x 5 using the chalk and the metre sticks on the playground. Explain you are going to play an African Maths game. Set a pair against another pair. Give each group 12 of the ‘tokens’. The Objective of the game is to capture your opponents tokens so that they can no longer make three in a row. (In other words, until they have only 2 tokens left.) There are two phases to the game, the “drop phase” and the “move phase”.

Drop Phase:

• Decide which pair goes first.

• Players alternate placing their tokens on the game board. Once all tokens have been placed, the move phase begins.

Move Phase:

• The pairs take turns moving their tokens, one at a time, in an attempt to make 3 in a row. Once a pair has made three in a row, they can remove one of their opponent’s tokens from the board.


• There may not be more that 3 tokens in a row. (So — no 4 in a row, for example.)

• You may not capture an opponent’s token when it is part of a 3 in row he made.

• Rows of three may only be orthogonally (explain what this means if the children are unsure!), not diagonally.

• No diagonal moves are allowed


Using knowledge of the three times table, ask the children to give each counter a value of three. Ask the children to see how many multiplication problems they can find on their completed grid!

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