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Add Them Up! A low floor–high ceiling maths game

Editor’s note: This video was filmed at a Maths — No Problem! professional development course.

Here’s an exciting and fun maths game that encourages fast addition skills, tactical thinking and collaboration — while still being suitable for all skill levels.

This quick and simple activity is a low floor–high ceiling maths game where every child in the group can engage with the game at their own attainment level.

You’ll find differentiation tips for older or advanced learners below.

How to play Add Them Up!

This low floor–high ceiling maths game could also be a fun activity for parents who are supporting their child’s maths distance learning at home.

So, here’s how it works:

Ask your learners to divide into small groups. This simple maths game is best played between 3–5 learners.

1. Each player takes their turn to say a number

The number called out must not be greater than:
25 for 5 players,
20 for 4 players,
15 for 3 players.


2. At the same time the number is called out, every player puts forward a number using one hand.

3. If the total number of fingers matches the number called… the player wins!

How to differentiate learning in Add Them Up!

This activity is designed to be a low floor–high ceiling maths game.

Differentiating learning for this maths game is about asking the right questions. Asking children to think about how else this game could be played, encouraging them to add their other hand into the mix — there’s lots of potential for effective questioning to help sharpen your learners’ maths skills.

Here’s a couple of engaging questions to get you started. Can you think of any others?

Could they play in pairs? If so, what would be the maximum fingers shown?
Could they use two hands? What would be the maximum fingers shown?