Friday, February 7, 2014

Snowboarding Math Slalom

The Winter Olympics have inspired me (perhaps you've noticed). This game sends kids on a downhill snowboarding race (i.e. the giant parallel slalom) as they compete to cross the finish first, solving division problems as they go.

DIY Mini Snowboard Game Pieces
The night before we played our game, we made some game pieces - miniature snowboards! Before our art project, I Googled snowboards to show my oldest son images of how diverse their designs were. Amazing artistry for sure!

Using Shrink Film, I traced several large snowboard shapes with permanent marker.

Download a 1-page PDF of the snowboard template from Google Drive here.

Once cut out, the boys and I decorated our boards with permanent Sharpie markers. Into the oven they went, and three minutes later, they'd shrunk to half their size.

While they were still warm, I carefully bent the ends of each board up slightly (while wearing oven mits) before the plastic hardened completely. The boys and I both loved watching our snowboards miniaturize through the window in the oven door.

TIPS: Space your boards about 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheet. When they shrink they can curl up and if they're too close, they might touch and fuse together. Be careful about adding words too; they might end up backwards.

Playing the Game
With the slalom course and division problem fact cards made, I printed just six pages of division facts (pgs 8-13). You don't need all of the facts to play this game, so feel free to pick and choose which will challenge your child. 

Download the free 3-page game board PDF from Google Drive here.
Download the free 14-page division math cards PDF (including one page of Uh Oh cards) here.

You'll need to print multiple copies of the "Uh-Oh" cards. I printed three pages of cards to go with six pages of problems. Once they were cut out and shuffled and the game board was printed and taped together, we were ready to race.

We placed our snowboards at the start. And then he turned over the first card in the deck. He solved the problem and moved his snowboard to the first snowflake on the mountain (keeping to his side of the course). Now it was my turn, I drew the "Uh Oh" card and had to stay put. Go figure.

Play alternates between players and so long as they draw a division problem and solve it correctly, they can proceed down the slalom course, moving their mini snowboard.

The first player's board to cross the finish wins. (In our case, that would be my son's.) What fun!


  1. I love the shrinkie snowboards - what a great idea to make learning maths facts fun and topical!

    1. like seriously I don't know how to play this game would you help me out?

    2. Solve the problems on the cards. With each problem solved, move your snowboard down the course, landing on one snowflake for each problem. The Uh-Oh cards mean you forfeit a turn. The first snowboarder to the finish wins!

  2. What a fun activity! Love the snowboards, especially!

  3. I just finished preparing the game. Will play it tomorrow in my third grade class here in Germany. I teach my students maths in English half of the time. I think they will love this game!
    Thanks for sharing it.


  4. Just finished making the game, plan on playing this in my 2nd/3rd grade class tomorrow!

  5. You are awesome!!!
    Definitely one of the best sites for homeschooling fun I have seen!
    I appreciate the time and perfection that you have put into your games.
    Thank you!

  6. What a fun way to learn math facts!! Love it!!