I love this game for helping students with their multiplication facts! Rectangular Fit, taken from the work of Jennifer Bay-Williams and Gina Kling in Math Fact Fluency: 60+ Games and Assessment Tools to Support Learning and Retention, can be adapted for different ages and situations.
For Rectangular Fit, you will need two dice (or you could use playing cards), pencil, and a game board for each player. You will need at least two players. I am sharing how to adapt the game for at least a two player game. The attached version is for a whole class game. The goal is to be able to have the most rectangles on your game board. Here are the directions:
- Player 1 rolls the two dice.
- Each player decides where on their game board to place a rectangle of the dimensions rolled. For example, if 4 and 5 were rolled, each player decides where and in what orientation they can best fit a 4 x 5 rectangle on their game board. (So they could draw the rectangle as 4 x 5 or 5 x 4.)
- Each player writes the related multiplication fact inside the rectangle.
- The next player rolls, and each student fills in a rectangle with the dimensions on their game board.
- When a player cannot fit a rectangle with the dimensions rolled, they are out of the game.
- The last player in the game in the winner.
The reason I love this game is because it allows students to explore their multiplication facts with a visual representation and without the focus on speed. Math Fact Fluency: 60+ Games and Assessment Tools to Support Learning and Retention shares the research around learning math facts. In our current culture of teaching math facts, we tend to go from Phase 1 of counting to Phase 3 of mastery and do not allow students to spend time in Phase 2 of deriving. Games like Rectangular Fit allow students to play with their math facts, helping them develop connections to what they know. When students have the time to be in the deriving phase, they are able to retain their facts.
Another reason I love this game is all the variations that students are able to create from it. After teaching the game whole class, students play in partners. From playing with partners, students adapt the rules. One variation that students created was to play on one game board where the goal is to be able to place the last rectangle. Another variation would be to play as teams of two. If you want to challenge students, use a 10 sided dice or playing cards. But be careful, you will want a game board with more squares.
Where’s the math? For Rectangular Fit, students are practicing their multiplication facts. They are also using a visual structure to help them make sense of the problem. This game does involve strategy as well.
What grade levels? 2nd to 12th+ Because of the amount of strategy involved and the ways you can adapt this game, you could play this game with almost any age.
Ideas for Remote Teaching
- Synchronous Technology – You could have students “roll the dice” and then fill in a rectangle on a virtual whiteboard. The goal could be to see how many rectangles you could fit onto the game board. This might be a good way to teach the game.
- Asynchronous Technology – You could post the game for students to do. They could take a picture of their game board and share how many rectangles they were able to fit. You could have them compare with another students to see why one person had more rectangles on their game board.
- Paper – You could have students play this game at home with family – at least twice. Is there a strategy that works well to get the most amount of rectangles on the game board?
- Homework – Is there a strategy that works well to get the most amount of rectangles on the game board?
Did you play this game? How did you adapt it? Let us know how it went.