Pirate game grid generator: TES Maths Resource of the Week

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What is it?
So, the end of term is almost upon us, and festive spirits are high. So, it must be time for… yes, you’ve guessed it… The Pirate Game.

The original Pirate Game is a TES Maths end of term classic. Since its first appearance in 2012, it has spawned many pin-offs, including the festive Christmas Pirate Game in 2013, with pirates and ships making way for snowmen and Christmas trees.

However, for 2018 fedoraboy is taking things to another level, with the Pirate Game Grid Generator, 2.0. Remove all the hassle out of students filling in their own grids, and the inevitable confusion, omissions, rule-bending and outright cheating that can occur, by generating a class-set of grids at the click of a button.


How can it be used?
Now, if you are reading this and asking yourself “what on earth is the Pirate Game?”, well you are in for a treat. It is essentially a game of luck and strategy, with very little mathematical content (I guess it is on a grid, and there are one or two numbers involved, but that is about it), which students seem to almost universally love. Indeed, it is the favourite end of term activity for both my Year 7s and my Year 13s, which should tell you something about its appeal. I have also known maths departments to play a game between themselves… just to make sure they know the rules, of course.

For a full guide how to play the game, I recommend checking out the original resource. And after a few rounds of this, Christmas holidays and a rest cannot come soon enough!

Happy Christmas, and have a super new year and see you in 2019 for more maths resource goodness!

Thanks so much for sharing
Craig Barton

Download: The Pirate Game 2.0
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One thought on “Pirate game grid generator: TES Maths Resource of the Week

  1. Hi Craig,

    Just thought you might be interested in the extended history behind The Pirate Game. The original form was developed in the early 1990’s by a maths teacher at Oxted County School. The rationale behind it was that it needed to be end of term activity that was at least vaguely mathematical, hopefully engaging and also something that could replace the tedium of hangman, pictionary and other ubiquitous end of term activities of the era.

    Like many works of genius, the game was concocted in a brief moment one evening after work. It was an instant success at Oxted School and it spread amongst the maths department. It did however suffer a little from “Chinese whisper” corruption and the version that Paul Collins got hold of was the version that Mike Jones used to use when he picked it up whilst working at Oxted School. I contacted Paul a few years ago as I was curious as to how he had got hold of the game. It transpired that Mike was Paul’s mentor during his training. Paul, as you know, publicised it, your good self popularised it on TES and the rest, is, well, history.

    You may have twigged by now where this is going, the aforementioned maths teacher at Oxted School who created the game in a flash of genius was me. There are a few subtle differences between the original game, (which is slightly more mathematical), but essentially it’s the same.

    Thanks for appreciating the classic nature of the game! Incidentally, the idea of pre-generated or pre-printed was something I deliberately chose not to develop – I quite like having a little peace before the storm as they write out their own grid 😀


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