In Addition and Subtraction, Counting, Games and warm-ups, Number and Algebra

Learning Objective:
Develop mental addition and subtraction strategies using non-standard partitions.

Intended Outcome:
Using known facts, number structure and other non–count–by–one strategies to solve problems.


  • 5 or 6 small rubber ducks
  • 3 small ‘beach buckets’, labelled with the numbers ‘1’, ‘3’ and ‘5’ respectively
  • 1 20-sided dice OR a random number generator set to the value range 1 to 20

Game Objective:
The objective is to minimise your point score!

This game is to be played in pairs or two teams.

  1. A 20-sided dice is rolled to provide the ‘target number’ for each round
    (eg. Team A roll a ‘16’ on the 20-sided dice – this is their target number).
  2. The team or person then needs to work out what combination of 5 (or 6) scores they need to throw into the ‘1’, ‘3’ or ‘5’ buckets, to get as close as possible to their target number.
  3. Set a fair distance between the ‘thrower’ and the line of scoring buckets, and take turns to throw the ducks into the bucket to achieve as closely as possible to the target score.
  4. Of course, not all the ducks will land in the correct bucket – or in any bucket at all!
  5. The number actually scored is the target score minus the added value of the ducks that have made it into buckets! So, if the target score was ‘14’ and a person threw two 3s, a 2 and two 1s (total 10), the final score in that round for the person (or team) would be: 14 – 10 = 4.
  6. Play 5 rounds each to determine a winner – remember, lowest total score wins!
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