I highly recommend this Literal Equations Connect 4 Activity from Math by the Mountain. It is a free download on Teachers Pay Teachers, and my students absolutely loved it.
When I told my Algebra 1 students that the activity was over, they begged “Can we please do just one more?” That’s the sign of a good activity – when kids don’t want to stop doing math!
I cut up the sheet of problem strips, folded them, and put them in a basket.
Each student got a Connect 4 sheet with the following instructions: Place the numbers 1-16 randomly on the grid. No repeats and don’t copy your neighbor!
To play the game, I would give the entire class a literal equation and a specified variable to solve for. They would solve this on their dry erase boards. Then, we would go over the problem as a class so they could check their work. When we were done, I would reveal the problem’s number. Everyone would cross that number off their individual grid. I would draw a new problem from the basket, and we would repeat the process.
When a student got 4 in a row, I would give them a piece of candy. The thing I really liked about this game was that I could stop the game whenever I wanted to. I could let just one student win or I could have multiple winners. We ended up spending about 25 minutes playing this game.
The structure of this game could be used with any topic!