I teach math; 6th grade up through Geometry. I try to make it fun. The following rules are for versions of Hasbro's game Battleship that I use to teach graphing skills. The kids like them, and if anyone out there wants to use them (or further adapt them for their own devious purposes), go right ahead. Enjoy.

### BATTLESHIP

* For students learning to plot points on the coordinate plane*

Each student needs a sheet of graph paper, pencil, and

straightedge. Everyone should mark off a coordinate grid that runs from –10 to +10 on both the x and y

axes (it is helpful to either demonstrate this on the blackboard/

overhead projector, or assist each child individually. I guess you could provide them with a ready-made grid, but where would be the learning in that?) Within that 20x20 grid, each student then outlines four 3x3 squares—their

ships. A ship is sunk when “hit” by a single shot. For instance, if the

vertices of the ship were (0,0), (3,0), (3,3), and (0,3), either a point in the

interior of that region (say, (2,2)) or one along its

boundaries (1,3) would sink the ship.

Students take turns calling shots ( X, Y ) and the teacher records each shot and plots it on a master grid (on the blackboard or overhead). It is impossible to sink your own ship, and therefore strategically advantageous to call shots where your own ships are located—that way, the master grid drawn by the teacher (or student leader) shows shots fired in that area, and opponents are less likely to find your ships.

The winner of the game is the last person left with ships unsunk. (It is possible, but not necessary, to keep track of how many ships each individual manages to “shoot down”, and award points accordingly.) Even after a student’s ships are all sunk, sie may continue to play, firing shots from hir (fictional) aircraft.

### BATTLESHIP--Advanced Version

* For students who have learned to graph linear equations in the form y = mx + b; provides practice identifying slope and y-intercept. *

Played as above; this time, set up the grids extending from –20 to +20 on both axes, but keeping the ships in the –10 to +10 range. Students fire shots in the form of

lines by giving the slope (m) and y-intercept (b). Any ship touched by a line is sunk. For instance, a ship bounded by (0,0), (3,0), (3,3), and (0,3) could be sunk by the lines y = x, y = -1x, y = -2x + 3, etc. This game works best when students have

** not** yet learned to graph

horizontal and/or

vertical lines—if they have, I usually

forbid these shots, or else they’ll just systematically cover the grid with horizontal or vertical lines (which might be fun once, but gets old quickly, and they're not learning about slope.)

If you do end up using one of these games, let me know how it goes. Have fun.