Too Many Mice!

(MathPickle, 2012)

Your students need to add 15 and 17… How do you teach carrying from the ones column to the tens column?  This is the first of a series of games that will help.

“Too Many Mice” is a simple game in which students try to get as many mice as possible at the end of the game.  It was designed for the grade 2 teachers at Foundations for the Future Chartered Academy.

…too many mice is a two player game, but you can add an additional role:  one student can play the part of the cat.


1) If your students find the game is always won by the person who goes first, then increase the number of cards from 6 to 9.

2)  Is a tie possible with 6 cards?  With 7?  8?  9?  10?

3)  How many different ways are there to play the game with 2 cards?  With 3?  4?  5?  6?

4) If both players play very well, who will win – the first player, the second player – or will it end in a tie?  With 1 card?  2 cards?  3?  4?  5?  6?  I don’t know the answer for 9 cards.

Games give you a chance to excel, and if you’re playing in good company you don’t even mind if you lose because you had the enjoyment of the company during the course of the game.

Gary Gygax

Standards for Mathematical Practice

MathPickle puzzle and game designs engage a wide spectrum of student abilities while targeting the following Standards for Mathematical Practice:

MP1 Toughen up!

This is problem solving where our students develop grit and resiliency in the face of nasty, thorny problems. It is the most sought after skill for our students.

MP3 Work together!

This is collaborative problem solving in which students discuss their strategies to solve a problem and identify missteps in a failed solution. MathPickle recommends pairing up students for all its puzzles.

MP6 Be precise!

This is where our students learn to communicate using precise terminology. MathPickle encourages students not only to use the precise terms of others, but to invent and rigorously define their own terms.

MP7 Be observant!

One of the things that the human brain does very well is identify pattern. We sometimes do this too well and identify patterns that don't really exist.


Please use MathPickle in your classrooms. If you have improvements to make, please contact us. We'll give you credit 😉

Gordon Hamilton

(MMath, PhD)


Lora Saarnio