Four in a Row




Four in a Row is very interesting and unusual. The book is a resource to play Four in a Row with the whole class as a mental mathematics game. The book is divided into four sections, each dealing with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Each section is then broken down into several subsections designed to progress in levels of difficulty and covering the range of number facts that children are expected to know by the end of KS2.

Each game consists of a dedicated filled grid of numbers which are given out to the children to play in pairs. Below each grid is a specifically designed set of numbers that allow the teacher (or child) to generate a number in the square by practicing the intended learning objective. The child who manages to cover four correct answers in a row with counters wins.

As the sections progress so do the sophistication of the challenges, including wonderfully complex grids towards the end. I think this is a format that the children would thoroughly enjoy in class and since it requires only counters and the photocopied grid, it would contribute substantially to reinforcing number facts in children's minds whilst having fun. An excellent idea, very well put together.

Reviewed in Primary Mathematics, a Journal of the Mathematical Association, 2002

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Children love playing games and this spiral bound book by Ian Ward will allow them to play for weeks without doing the same activity twice. It is packed with number games that will encourage and reinforce the recall of number relationships. It's a game of mental mathematics with very simple rules that children will get to grips with easily.

Suitable for Key Stages 1 and 2 the book contains over 130 photocopiable master sheets. The author recommends enlarging a game sheet to A3 size and attaching it to a board at the front of the class. The teacher can then explain the rules and 'play' against the whole class, or two teams can play against each other.

Anyone looking for a new approach to numeracy should take a look at this book; it will keep you and your class busy for a very long time.

Reviewed in Leadership Focus, magazine of the National Association of Head Teachers (2002)


'Four in a Row is a book of photocopiable sheets of number games for children, played using coloured counters. Suitable for all ages, the rules are simple, but the mental arithmetic gets more difficult from one game to the next, making differentiation easy.

The addition games, for example, consist of a grid of numbers with another strip of numbers at the bottom. Each player takes it in turns to add up two of the numbers from the bottom strip, say the answer aloud and place a counter on that number in the answer grid.

The winner is the first to get four counters in a row. The numbers to be added up start off as single figures, but when fractions, decimals and bigger numbers are added in, the task becomes more challenging.

In total there are 45 games.'

Reviewed in Headteacher Update (September 2002)

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