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Guest Post: MATHO

matho review game

[Today’s guest post is by Lisa Winer.  She has been blogging about teaching math at Eat Play Math since 2014!  Her blog posts are always so enjoyable to read, and I love how personal and vulnerable she allows herself to be in her writing.  I definitely recommend that you check out her blog.  You can also interact with her on Twitter.]

Blank Matho Game Board.

I learned how to play this tried-and-true game with my classes in my first year of teaching. It was when I wrote answers on an overhead transparency using those felt tip transparency markers that smelled sour when they got too old. I remember cleaning the transparencies with Windex or even sometimes in the sink, math dreams swirling away.

Now, I write the answers on a piece of paper, snap a picture with my iPad, and project it on the wall with my Apple TV. A lot has changed in 25+ years technology-wise, but not the love of this game. I don’t know a kid who does not enjoy playing it. It’s low key and yet there is a bit of friendly competition with who gets MATHO! first.

Here’s what you do to prepare for the game.

Write out about 30 review problems. I wrote them out using Notability on my iPad ahead of time. MATHO! is probably better when you don’t have a ton of long problems. Here is an example of the first few for review of functions…the rest are linked here as a pdf.

Matho Questions.

Write out the answers to these questions in a different order on a separate piece of paper. I literally write the answers all over the place and boxed them. Here’s an example of what it looks like.

Matho Answers.

Have MATHO! sheets (linked here) ready to go. That’s it for preparation.

Here’s what you do right before playing the game.

Give students blank MATHO! sheets. Tell them to fill in the 24 spaces with 24 of the 30 review problems. They should scatter the answers in different boxes to ensure that everyone has a different MATHO! card. This takes a bit of time, but if you play a song and tell them that after the song ends, they should be done, they are usually on task and copy the answers quickly. There are more answers than there are spaces, and this spices it up a bit because some of the answers will not be on everyone’s cards.

Have students check that they did not copy any answers twice. I ask them to switch with a partner who can look and double check for them.

Ask students to take out paper for doing work. If you have students that are not self-motivated, you may want to collect this paper for a formative grade after the game. Students must show work to get credit.

Tell students that even if they know what the answers is before they see the question, they have to do the work and not call out the answer. (Sometimes, if an answer is obvious, i.e., there is only one graph, I will put a WRONG but similar graph as an “answer” so that they will not just pick the graph without thinking.) This also spices things up, as not every answer will be used.

Project question 1 on the board. Have students write the work down and put an X in the box if they have it. Walk around to help struggling students (I put mine in groups to help each other.) Go over on board if necessary. Continue with the next question and repeat until someone gets MATHO!

I have students continue this game after the first MATHO! so that many students are able to get MATHO! I only allow a student to win twice if they get blackout (all squares have an X).

I give my students a choice of candy. I get fruit roll ups at the dollar section from Target or lollipops or any kind of candy.

That’s it! I think 50 minutes is a good amount of time for the game. There are probably websites that will scramble the cards for you, but I think the kids enjoy filling in the spots. They get excited when the one they wrote is on the card and chosen and mad when they didn’t write one down that gets picked. It’s just good wholesome fun 🙂

[Thanks Lisa for sharing this awesome game from your classroom!  I love that it could be played with students studying any and every level of math.  I love having games like this in my teaching arsenal to pull out when my students just need a bit more practice!  Want more awesome ideas from Lisa?  Check out her blog, Eat Play Math, or find her on Twitter.]

Donatella Nobatti

Monday 10th of April 2017

One day my son came to ask me what it is and all i remembered was the fun i had in class solving this. I still love it.


Tuesday 11th of October 2016

Thank you for this! I will be using this to review operations with fractions with my students :)

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Saturday 15th of October 2016

Hope it goes well for you!


Monday 10th of October 2016

We play lots of math-o in our middle school math classes! Rather than having students write in the answers to the problems on their boards, they write the letters of the alphabet in the boxes - any places they want and skipping 2 letters. After the class completes a problem I'll pick a letter for them to cross off on their boards- sometimes I'll spell out words, other times it's totally random. This really speeds up the board setup process!

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Saturday 15th of October 2016

I like it :)

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