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Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, v9 n3 p22-26 2004

Sometimes the first step towards making a new (mathematics) game is discovering an unexpected possibility in some hitherto unplayed-with piece of equipment. At other times the first step is inventing new equipment. But rarely is any "new" idea for a game wholly original, either as a way of playing a game, or in its equipment. As letter-based word games, "Cross Words", "Hang the Butcher" and the great classic word-spelling game "Scrabble are familiar"; but what else might teachers do with alphabet letters? In this article, the author makes the ordinary fascinating as he piques everybody's curiosity about the origins of the alphabet and turns the various mathematical properties of letters into bases for games.

Descriptors: Educational Games, Alphabets, Orthographic Symbols, Reading Instruction, Foreign Countries, Mathematics Instruction, Mathematics, Teaching Methods, Primary Education

Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT). GPO Box 1729, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. Tel: +61-8-8363-0288; Fax: +61-8-8362-9288; e-mail: office[at]; Web site:

Author: Gough, John


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