Big Bad Wolf

Mathematical Practice(s): ,
Grade(s): 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th

Big Bad Wolf

Number of Players: 2
  • paper and pencil

Task Instruction

  • Write the numbers 1 to 6 in a horizontal row. You (Player A) will play the Big Bad Wolf who is Player B.
  • Every time it is your turn, you can take any number in the list, as long as at least one factor of that number is also in the list.
  • You get your number and the Big Bad Wolf gets all of the factors of that number that are on the list. For example, if you take a 4, the Big Bad Wolf would get 1 and 2 since those are the factors of 4 left in the list.
  • The Big Bad Wolf must get something every time, which means you cannot choose a number if no factors of the number remain in the list. When no number in the list has any factors left in the list, the game is over and the Big Bad Wolf gets all the numbers that are left in the list.
Variation Try Big Bad Wolf with the numbers 1–10 or the numbers 1–12. Can you find a winning strategy for any string of number?


From Helping with Math at Home: More Ideas for Parents. 2006. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
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