Maths Game: Number Detectives

Number Detectives

Bring out the magnifying glasses. It's time to play detectives!

Number Detectives is an effective game to reinforce number recognition. It can also be used to consolidate an understanding of number order.

Number Detectives is played using a number line. We used a number line on the floor.

The Objective of Number Detectives

... For children to locate numbers on the number line.

Materials Needed for Number Detectives
Number Detectives

  • Lego blocks to make dectective markers
  • Detective pictures - printed out on cardboard. For a free A4-sized Number Detective printable, click on the download button:
  • Number Line (while we used our floor number line, this game could easily be adapted to a number line written on paper)
  • Toy animals (optional)

First we printed the detective markers out on cardboard and enabled them to stand upright using duplo blocks.

We made four detective markers for each player.

How To Play Number Detectives

The boys took on the roles of detectives and were presented mysteries to solve.

For example, they had to find certain numbers (e.g., 53) or solve number puzzles (e.g., what is two more than 12?).
Number Detectives

To make it more interesting, we introduced soft toys which requested Detective Daniel and Detective David to solve number mysteries for them. This helped to engage imaginations.

Number Detectives

When the boys solved the mystery (i.e., found the correct number), they placed their marker on the number and called out 'case solved'.

The game continued until each detective had placed all of his markers on the number line. We then started the game again.
Number Detectives

Number Detectives

The boys soon managed to add their own touches to the game, such as creating 'open' and 'closed' signs. According to the detectives, the purpose of the signs was to indicate to potential animal clients whether they were taking on new business or not.

The number line has proved very popular with our boys. It's really helped to build number awareness and confidence.

Here are some other ways we've used the number line:

  • Stepping on each number and counting at the same time ... in increments of ones, twos, fives and tens.
  • Counting backwards in ones, twos, fives and tens, stepping on all the numbers.
  • Driving cars on the number line.
  • Throwing bean bags onto the numbers.
  • Using the number line to add on numbers (e.g., how many more than 7 is 10) or subtract them.
  • Finding and locating specific numbers and marking them with toy animals.
  • Using the number line to work out what certain numbers are ( e.g., what's five more than 10).

Do you play games with number lines? I'd love to hear about them.

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Return to the Articles List for other children's learning activities or children's book reviews.

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