This is a detailed description of a "strategy" game anybody who can count up to 100 can play with their class and win each and every time. The rules will take about 45 seconds to describe, and within 3 minutes you will be able to keep an entire class occupied by the question, 'why does he/she/they keep on winning this game?"
If you follow the instructions described in this activity, it should easily keep a class engaged, puzzled and frustrated for at least 45 minutes, usually longer. Your class will be so perplexed that they will insist on playing over and over again, and just when they think they have it figured out, you can change the goal, and continue winning for another 45 minutes. Play your cards right, and you can stretch this into 3 - 4 lessons!
Best part? There is really cool mathematics involved, and if you teach this game (and your students figure out the strategy), they will be able to play it with anyone, anytime and anywhere.
My history with the game: My 9th grade algebra teacher, Mr. Packman, had to keep us entertained on the day before winter break. We had our mid-terms already, so he brought a candy bar to class, put it on the desk in front of him, and said, "anybody who can play this game and say 99 first will win the candy bar." We played for 40 minutes, and nobody could figure out how Mr. Packman kept winning. Every time we thought we figured it out, his strategy seemed to change.
So here it is, 45 years later, and I have played this game with my students (from 2nd grade on up) and even then, it's still hard as nuts to "crack." However, the strategy is absurdly easy, and even if the kids of today are smarter than 45 years ago, I've included 3 more variations that will extend the fun for a long time.
So put a crowbar in your wallets, spend the $2.95 and learn how to keep a classroom filled with restless students in complete suspense!
I have scoured the internet and I can find NO description of this game!