Sprouts – Game created by John H Conway and Michael S Paterson, 1967

Sadly the world learned that mathematician John H. Conway succumbed to COVID-19 last week at the age of 82. He was an English mathematician who contributed to many areas of mathematics. I knew him mostly for his influence on recreational mathematics and he was well-known for the Game of Life. Another game he co-created, and I have used with students, is a called Sprouts. The only supplies needed are a pencil and paper or dry-erase pen and whiteboard surface.

Today’s post is in honour of John Conway and I hope you consider playing Sprouts for the fun and its mathematical beauty.

NRICH has a page called Sprouts Explained where you can learn  about the background and the rules for this simple game and you can find the instructions for Sprouts here. If you are an educator and would like to see the teacher resources related to this game, head to this page.

Here are a few photos of some Sprout games I captured a few years ago.

























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What’s the Longest Number String Possible?

I haven’t posted for over 3 years now but think that, perhaps, a post a week during this social distancing time might be a good idea.

I am constantly searching for math activities and games that let kids learn to make sense of math and reason mathematically. So, I will try to post helpful links for teachers, families and students.

My first link is to an NRICH game called Factors and Multiples. Marilyn Burns flagged it on Twitter and I have played it and it involved great fluency with multiplication and division. Here is a link to Marilyn’s blog post about this game.

You can play against someone or on your own with the desktop version of the game. Here is a game that I started today:

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