Math Mall

Greg Brososky

Wendy Clash

Sue Crane


Instructional Objective:

The game provides review of math concepts covered in grades 7 and 8 defined by the California State Curriculum Guide. This game Students review math concepts for a final, year-end exam and get a better understanding of their weaknesses and areas of competence. They also benefit from observing others solve problems.


Learners are math students in grades 7 & 8 of low-average to high ability.

This game is a motivating, exciting way for students to review all the different kind of math problems they will likely encounter on the final exam. In a shopping mall, students move through stores such as 'Decimal Decibals', making purchases which require them to solve math problems. The cost of each purchase is determined by the difficulty of the questions they choose. During the game students withdraw money from ATM accounts and they may also work in the food court.

The game is designed for a 45 minute to 50 minute math class but teachers may modify the game and time needed for play by:

Object of the Game:

The first player to make a purchase from each of the 12 stores and exit the mall wins. If time runs out the player with the most purchases wins.


The game is fun and grabs student's attention. It provides for individual differences and for choice. Students choose questions based upon their unique mathematical ability in different content areas. This game situated in a real life environment provides for authentic learning. Students at this age are very familiar with shopping malls. Stores in Math Mall are the type that students are interested in, related to their backgrounds and interestsMall Coupons provide an unexpected element to the game which adds to the motivational appeal.


The following equipment is required for the full version of the game.

Set Up:

  1. Place the Mall Coupons and ATM Cards in the spaces indicated on the game board.
  2. Separate store cards and food court cards into the spiral slots.
  3. Pass out a balance sheet to each player. Each player starts with $1000 in his/her ATM bank account. Players each indicate the starting balance, the ending time and the stores required on their sheet.
  4. Money is put into a pile off the game board.
  5. Players choose their piece. High die roll goes first, then play moves to the left.

How to Play:

  1. To take a turn, roll 3 dice. Use at least two dice to make a mathematical equation. State the equation and answer. If you answer correctly, move that many spaces. If you're incorrect, you lose your turn.
    • i.e. if you roll a 6, 2, and 3 you may say 6+2 = 8, or 6 + 2 + 3 = 11. or 6 + 2 - 3 = 5, depending on the answer of your equation, you move that many spaces.
  2. Move your piece to:
    • the ATM to get money so you can purchase items from stores.
    • a stores to purchase an item.
    • the food court to earn money.
    • the mall exit because you've purchased all required items.
  3. If you land:
    • In a store, choose either difficult or more difficult questions (cost less money). The person on your right asks you the question from a card for that store . If you're right, that person gives you the card, if you're wrong, your card goes back to the end of the pile.
    • on an ATM, choose to answer a $20, $40 or $80 question. The person on your right takes an ATM card and asks you a question.The most difficult questions earn the most money. If you answer correctly, the player on your right subtracts the price of the question from your balance sheet and gives you the equivalent amount of money from the money pile. If you answer incorrectly, your turn is over. All ATM cards are returned to the bottom of the pile on the board.
    • on the food court. The person on your right asks you a food court question. If you get it right, that same person pays you $20 per question. If you answer incorrectly, your turn over. All food court cards are returned to the end of the food court pile.
    • on a RED space, take a Mall Coupon Card. Do what it says. Even if you are playing a game that doesn't require you to visit certain stores, if the Mall Card says you must, you must.


  4. After you purchase an item from each store required go to the mall exit to win the game.



Rules Concerning Play:

  1. You must land exactly on the stores, ATMs and Mall Exit. Each area is considered one space.You may overroll the food court.
  2. Players may stay inside a store or at the food court and answer another question instead of rolling on their turn. Players may not stay at an ATM for two consecutive turns.
  3. 24 is the highest number of spaces you may move in one turn. Equations that generate larger numbers cannot be used.
  4. Players can travel in both directions but must continue in a single direction during each turn.
  5. Each ATM can be accessed from the four spaces sharing one edge with that ATM.
  6. You may use one set of parenthesis when creating equations.
  7. If you go to a store without enough money to purchase an item, you do not get asked a question and must leave on your next turn.
  8. If a mall coupon card requires that you pay money and you don't have enough, you must keep the mall card to indicate your outstanding debt. No new purchases can be made until you the debt is paid in full.
  9. Use the egg timer to time all responses to Math Mall questions and the creation and generation of dice equations. If time runs out, you forfeit your turn.

Design Process:

Making a year-end review of math concepts fun for middle school students was our challenge. A 'race type' format seemed well suited for this content. A shopping mall provides an enviornment that most middle school students experience on a regular basis. We started with 'Monopoly' as a template and continued to use the acquisition of objects, in this case purchases, as a measure of success at the game. The criteria for acquisition (store purchases) requires a combination of money and math knowledge. This provides a tie between the mall setting and the math goals. We designed each store based upon the interests of students at this age level. The ATM machines and the Food Court enables students to access their funds or to earn funds, respectively.This parallels real life experiences. Like the 'Chance' and 'Community Chest' cards of Monopoly, the 'Mall Coupons' add a level of uncertainty. The use of three dice provides a math related means of movement around the board.

Rules governing movement, success, time, record keeping and player interaction were considered during the entire design process.

Construction and collection of the math questions, game board, game cards and various pieces came next. This was time consuming but, as the project became more and more real, was very rewarding. Once the parts were all assembled, we tried it out ourselves and on others for feedback.