Traditional Games help pupils’ maths skills in Turkey

Traditional Games help pupils’ maths skills in Turkey 

Last September Jenny Mosley was delighted to be invited to travel to the British Embassy School in Ankara, Turkey to deliver two training days – better behaviour for learning and positive lunchtimes and playtimes. Jenny had a great training trip and met some wonderful people. Whilst there, Jenny was really interested to hear about the use of traditional games in the classroom to support more formal learning and a newsletter with an article about this was kindly sent over by the Heateacher.

Year 8 pupils were encouraged to use traditional games and pastimes to help consolidate their maths learning.

The pupils explored probability using traditional games that included an element of chance as this helps games become more exciting. They looked at the traditional game of ‘scissors, paper, stone’ in pairs – where pupils made the shapes of these three items with their fingers in pairs and certain elements beat other elements in the game. Stone beats scissors, scissors beats paper and paper beats stone. The type of questions that students were asked to answer were:

  • What different pairs of moves can happen in the game?
  • How many are winning moves, how many draw and how many lose?
  • If you and your opponent pick moves at random, how many are you likely to win?

The students also played `Shut The Box` – a traditional game played in Northern France for over 200 years and which became an English pub game in the last century. Players take turns and throw two dice and add up the two numbers. There are numbers from 1 to 9 on the board and the goal is to cover up all the numbers using that total or numbers which make up that total. For example, if you throw a 3 and a 4 this adds up to 7, therefore you can cover the number 7, 1 and 6, 2 and 5, or 3 and a 4. There are many versions of this game.

Students were asked the following questions:

  • Which totals will be easier to get when you throw two dice?
  • Which will be harder?
  • Which single numbers do you think will be easier to cover by throwing one dice rather than two?
  • What numbers could you cover if you throw a total of 6? A total of 8? A total of 11?

Part of Jenny Mosley’s lunchtimes and playtimes training is to encourage adults to promote traditional and

new playground games, crazes of the week, ball games and other activities to make lunchtimes and playtimes more enjoyable and educational at the same time. All the games seem to have developmental benefits for children like building confidence, motor skills, turn taking, social and communication skills, number skills, balance, hand to eye co-ordination to name just a few, and it is very heartening to hear of games being used in classrooms and playgrounds to help children enjoy their learning.

Website Editor’s Notes

  1. Jenny Mosley trains in the UK and internationally in the areas of better behaviour for learning, circle times, lunchtimes and playtimes, the development of social skills and staff wellbeing.
  2. Jenny has a specific interest in traditional games and highlights traditional games as an important educational feature and enjoyment factor of lunchtimes and playtimes for all pupils.
  3. For information about Jenny’s training and conferencing go to or email phone 01225 767157.
  4. For resources for classrooms and playgrounds books promoting traditional playground games and games for circle times,Click Here.