July 1, 2014

**I am very pleased to present the game of Tic-Tac-Toe Products:**

This is a *really fun *game which also happens to review multiplication facts! It’s one of my favorite math games to teach and play with my students. It’s super simple, and kids can play several rounds of this without noticing the time passing! Like most of the games I will share, it’s also very portable. If your child has learned their multiplication facts, you should really give it a go! Fun for the whole family.

The directions to play are below. Please let me know how it goes if you try it!

>>>CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION WITH THE GAME BOARD AND INSTRUCTIONS.<<<

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**Math Concepts Covered:** Multiplication fact practice

**Materials: **Game board, two sets of colored game pieces (bingo chips, colored paper squares, etc.), two paper clips

**# of Players: **2

**Grades: **3-6

**OBJECT OF THE GAME: **Get four in a row!

**HOW TO PLAY:**

- Divide the game pieces up so each player has one color.
- Player 1 places both paperclips over two numbers on the bottom of the board. She then places her game piece over the
*product*of those two numbers. For example, paperclips at a 3 and a 6 means she uses her game piece to cover the 18 on the playing board.

- Player 2 moves
*one*of the paperclips to create a new product. For example, he can move the paperclip from the 3 to the 5. The product of 6 x 5 is 30, so he will use his game piece to cover up the square that says 30. - It is now Player 1’s turn again. She moves
*one*of the paperclips to create a new product, and covers up her new square. In this example, She moved the 6 to the 4. She is multiplying 4 x 5 to get 20.

- Continue in this fashion until someone gets four in a row:

Player 2 moves the 5 to the 7 to make *4 x 7 = 28.*

Player 1 moves the 4 to the 3 to make *3 x 7 = 21.
Suddenly, Player 2 realizes that Player 1 can get four in a row with the number 24!*Player 2 moves the 7 to the 8 to make

>>>CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION WITH THE GAME BOARD AND INSTRUCTIONS.<<<

**FAQ**

Q: Can I stack two paperclips on top of each other, like 6 x 6?

*A: Yes. *

Q: Can I make four in a row going horizontally, vertically, or diagonally?

*A: Yes. *

Q: Can I cover someone else’s game piece on the board?

*A: No. Once a product is covered, it is gone. You cannot cover it again.*

Q: Can I move both paperclips in one turn?

*A: No. *

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**Discuss Strategies**

Once the children have a few rounds under their belts, ask them what strategies they use and share some of your own with them, such as:

- Starting in the middle of the board gives you more options for four-in-a-row to win.
- Look at your opponent’s goals and avoid using factors that they could use to win.
- Look at your opponent’s pieces and use your turn to block the space they need to win.
- Set yourself up for a win by putting paper clips on factors you need.
- When deciding which direction to aim for, consider which numbers have the most factors (and therefore the most opportunities to win). For example, even though 24 and 14 are very close on the game board, 24 has four factors available on this board (3, 4, 6, 8), whereas 14 only has two (2, 7). Similarly, 12 and 10 are close to each other, but 12 has four factors available on this board (2, 3, 4, 6), whereas 10 only has two (2, 5).

There are lots of other strategies, too, and it will help your child develop their mathematical thinking to discuss and share these strategies together! Seriously, these conversations are where *incredible* amounts of learning take place in the classroom, and it would be such a treasure for your child to be able to have them one-on-one with you!

**Variations**

You can modify this game to make it easier by making the goal 3-in-a-row instead of 4-in-a-row. Or, if your child is still learning their facts, let them use a multiplication table to look at. The game is supposed to be fun, rather than taxing.

You may notice your child just picking products they know. While it may feel like they’re missing out on the chance to *play the game better* because they’re just covering the squares they’re familiar with, at least they are reviewing those facts! If you notice this happening, you might want to write out a couple more useful facts for them. Once they are familiar with the new ones, add a couple more. Over time, as they keep referencing the cheat sheet you created, they may just start to memorize those facts! Don’t give them a whole bunch at a time, though. Keep it simple, so they can actually master some as they go.

Please let me know how it goes if you try it!

See more fun math games in my series on *Fun Math Games for Children!*

This is a great game! I think I am going to try to also adapt it to play/teach compatible numbers.

Great idea! 🙂 Glad you like it!

Oh, this is awesome! I’ll have to remember it for when we get to the multiplication stage.

Oh, also, I saw your “saying sorry” post shared on Facebook through an entirely different avenue that I wouldn’t have expected. 😀

Sweet! Thanks for sharing :D!

Yes, we played this game in your classroom when I visited and the kids were having such a good time!

Wow, you have an excellent memory… that was soo long ago!!

Woooow, that game is awesome!!! I LOVE it!!! It’s really easy to put together, too!! Next september, I’ll be using that one for sure!!!

Yay! Have a blast with it!

What happens if one child notices the other child multiplied wrong?

I think that’s great– it means she is doing even more multiplication practice by checking the other’s work :). She should definitely speak up and let the other person know!