We all know how difficult it is to get some fifth graders to sit down and complete math homework, let alone do additional practice to review new skills. One way to “trick” your child into getting extra practice with one-step equations is to play a variation of the classic game, tic tac toe. Your child will be so busy strategizing ways to get “3-in-a-row”, she may not realize she's actually practicing important pre-algebraic skills. So, skip the workbooks and break out the tic tac toe board—your child's sudden enthusiasm for math just might surprise you!

### What You Need:

- paper
- small paper clips or other objects to use as markers
- tic tac toe board
- equation list (see below)

### What You Do:

- Cut paper to make 20 equation cards. On each card, write a one-step equation from the list below. Write the solution (answer) on the back of the card.
- If necessary, review the directions for tic tac toe. Players take turns placing a marker in a box. The object is to be the first player to mark 3 boxes across, down or diagonally. Explain that the twist to this version of tic tac toe is that players must correctly solve a one-step equation in order to mark a box. Offer a small prize for the winner.
- Place equation cards face
*up*in the middle of the table. Player 1 begins by drawing a card, solving the equation on scrap paper and checking the solution on the back of the card. If he answers correctly, he gets to mark a box on the tic tac toe board. If he answers incorrectly, he does not get to mark a box and Player 2 takes his turn. - Play continues in this way until one player gets three in row. Keep score on a separate sheet and play up to 5 or 10 points. Be sure to give both players one point if the game is a draw.

Equations:

n + 5 = 10

x – 3 = 7

y + 6 = 15

b – 9 = 2

m + 2 = 8

n – 5 = 15

z + 4 = 12

y – 6 = 8

c + 7 = 9

x – 1 = 14

y + 8 = 13

z – 2 = 11

n + 3 = 18

y – 10 = 12

n + 6 = 20

y – 3 = 9

b + 5 = 25

z – 7 = 21

m + 9 = 30

x – 18 = 25

y + 15 = 40

n – 5 = 18

z + 16 = 46

b – 21 = 50

m + 1 = 19

z – 6 = 14

b + 12 = 24

n – 25 = 10

b + 10 = 12

z – 13 = 27

Note: Play variations of the game to practice several different math concepts. Use your child's math textbook or homework to get equations or problems for the cards.