Wonder Number Learning Games

Countdown is a game designed to reinforce subtraction skills. The object of the game is to count down from 500 to exactly 1 in the fewest number of spins. This game can be played by up to four players or by a single child working alone.

When children are first playing the game, it is a good idea to have them say aloud what they have spun – “Blue 2, Red 3, Yellow 4”, etc. This will reinforce what they are looking for on the board.

Each player selects a different color of chips. The youngest player can go first or each player can take one spin, and the player who spins the highest number goes first.

To begin the game, the first player spins. If the spinner stops on any number from 2 to 10, then a chip may be placed on any multiple of the number spun. If a square, prime, or odd is spun, then any number that fits those definitions is allowed.

Young children not familiar with the terminology of multiples, squares, and primes, can simply match a color or shape on the board to what they have spun. Each player individually spins, and then places a chip in a block which matches their spin. Only one chip may be placed on each block.

Countdown requires each player to keep their own score on a separate sheet of paper, starting with 500 written at the top.

After each spin, the player selects a number to place their chip on and then subtracts that number from the previous total, until they reach the number 1 (see fig 8). The first player to reach exactly 1, in the fewest number of spins, is the winner. The play continues until all players have reached the number 1. At the conclusion of the game, the number of colored chips on the board representing each player equals the number of spins it took to reach 1.

Countup is a fun way to practice addition skills. Countup is the same as playing Countdown, only the operation changes. Instead of counting down, or subtracting, from 500 to 1, you now count up, or add, from 1 to 500. (see fig 9)

In addition to practicing valuable basic skills in a game-playing setting, Countdown helps children develop strategic thinking as players make choices based on the probability of each number.


© 2007 The Wonder Number Learning System, Patent No. 3975051 Dated 1976