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Race to the Sum: A Multi-Digit Addition Game

Posted by Brittney Field on

As you know, I always love Dollar Tree finds!  This week, I found these brightly-colored circular labels, which I thought could fit perfectly on these round magnets that I bought on Amazon, and these small cookie sheets, which are luckily magnetic.  I'm sure that this combination (round sticker labels + magnets + cookie sheets) will inspire many more games to come... because frankly, magnets make practice a lot more fun!

With operations on the mind, I created this game for practicing multi-digit addition. While I use adding 3-digit numbers for the purposes of explanation, this game could easily be adapted for adding 2-digit numbers, 4-digit numbers, 5-digit numbers, and even decimals (see "Differentiating the game" below).

Materials needed:

  • Game boards (see below for a free editable download)
  • 30 round magnets
    • I bought this set of round magnets from Amazon.  Please note that this is an affiliate link.
    • You may need more/less magnets depending on the level of addition you want your students to practice.
  • Round labels
    • Dollar Tree has a pack of 315 colorful labels for $1!
  • Cookie sheets
    • I use 2 small ones that I bought from the Dollar Tree, but you could easily work with whatever you have
  • Timer

Setting up the game:

1. Download these FREE editable game pages here: Race to the Sum Addition Game Boards.


2. Print the page you would like to use.  You'll need one game board (1/2 page) for each 2-player game.  I recommend that you laminate the game board so that you can use it over and over again.

3. Prepare the magnets by placing a round sticker label on one side of each magnet. Then, label each magnet with the numbers 0-9.  You should have three magnets with each number.



Playing the game:

Object of the game: To be the first player to earn 15 points.

Number of players: 2

1. Each player takes a game page and places it on his/her end of the cookie sheet.

2. Players turn all of the magnets over so that the numbers are not showing and mix them up. 

3. Each player randomly selects 10 magnets and keeps them face-down.

4. Players set the timer for 2 minutes (note that this time can be adjusted to better fit your students).

5. As soon as both players are ready, they start the timer and flip over their magnets to reveal their digits.

6. Players work as quickly as possible on their own game board to fill in the boxes to create a correct addition equation. When the timer ends, both players stop working.

  • Note: A player does not need to use all 10 magnets to create the equation.  If the best equation that a player can make is a 2-digit + 2-digit equation, that's okay.  The player's goal should be to have a completed equation by the end of the 2 minutes. However, the more magnets that he/she is able to use, the more likely it is that he/she will receive points during scoring.



Scoring the game:

When time is up, both players share and check their addition equations. Then, they tally up their points.  The maximum number of points that any one player can receive in a round is 5 points.
  • 1 point is awarded to each player who has created a correct addition equation, regardless of how many magnets used.
  • 2 points are awarded to the player who created the equation with the greatest sum.
  • 2 bonus points are awarded to any player who used all of his/her magnets.

In the example above, Player A's sum is 560 and Player B's sum is 822. Player A receives 1 point for having a correct equation.  Player B receives 1 point for having a correct equation and 2 points for having the greatest sum, for a total of 3 points. No players used all of their magnets.

Players record their points on a piece of paper and then begin another round of play. The first player to reach 15 points wins the game!


    Differentiating the game:

    Don't forget that you can differentiate this game in any number of ways.  It could be used for 2-digit addition or even decimal addition!



    Did your students enjoy playing this game?  We'd LOVE it if you'd share one of these images on social or leave a comment in the space below!



    Looking for other fun ways to practice addition in your math centers? Check out these and other fun addition activities in our store.


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    • I love the game and I can’t wait to use it with my students! I might use dice instead of magnets because I have a lot of dice. Many thanks!

      Pam Carpener on
    • I’m going to give this a try next week once I have got all the resources together for the game.

      patricia on

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