Any Number

Play a two-person number guessing game that exercises understanding of base 10 math notation and place value. Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons are a must for this game of beginning logic and deduction.

  • 1.

    Introduce students to math vocabulary used to describe numbers with more than one digit. For example, words like “place” and “digit” should be introduced so they can be used to communicate information in this game.

  • 2.

    Demonstrate how to play the game with a student partner. Each partner needs a dry-erase board and Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons. The teacher should model the role of Partner B while a student can model the role of Partner A.

  • 3.

    Partner A privately writes a mystery number on a dry-erase board using dry-erase crayons. The number chosen should be 2 or more digits, depending on level of difficulty appropriate for students. Partner A hides the number by covering it with a piece of black or dark construction paper.

  • 4.

    On a second dry-erase board Partner B uses dry-erase crayons to make a three-column guessing chart with these headings: “guess”, “digits correct”, and “places correct”.

  • 5.

    Partner B guesses the number by writing it under the “guess” column. Partner A checks the guess and writes the number of digits correct (numerals in the guess that are in the mystery number) and the number of places correct (numerals that are in the correct place).

  • 6.

    Partner B reflects on the information provided by Partner A and then makes another guess. Be sure to model your thought process by thinking aloud as you reflect on the information provided by Partner A.

  • 7.

    Continue the game until the mystery number is discovered. If necessary, columns may need to be erased to continue adding more and more guesses.


  • LA: Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.
  • LA: With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • MATH: Understand place value.
  • VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.


  • Introduce the book A Place for Zero: A Math Adventure by Angeline Sparagna Lopresti and Phyllis Hornung. Share the story as a read aloud or gather enough copies for a partner reading experience. Practice replacing digits with zeroes by taking away “two hundreds” and replacing that place with a zero. How does it change the look of the number, the name of the number, and the value of the number?
  • Instead of writing the mystery number using numerals, students may enjoy writing the mystery number using expanded notation to disguise it better.
  • After playing the game for an ample amount of time, invite children to write about their experiences in a math journal or on lined paper, responding to an open-ended prompt, such as, “What did I learn from this game?”