Aims and objectives
This is a fun way for pupils to revise their spellings and practice
their mental maths recall and problem solving skills. As the activity
can be played in 1 or 2 player modes then this lends itself to being
used as an assessment tool, especially as the activity produces
detailed results at the end of each game.
Spelling version: pupils should be familiar with the high and medium
frequency words as outlined in the NLS. The activity is differentiated
by Key Stage.
Maths version: pupils should be familiar with the four main operations.
The level of difficulty can be matched to pupil experience - using
numbers up to 5 (easy level) to numbers up to 30 (hard level).
In the classroom
This activity has been designed to test either spelling or mental
maths skills in a fun and engaging way. The aim is for the pupil
to make a continuous line of 4 red counters either horizontally,
vertically or diagonally by dropping counters into the frame without
a second player (or the computer) blocking them with yellow counters.
To drop a counter the pupil has to answer either a spelling or a
maths question first. If their answer is correct then their counter
will drop down but if they get it wrong they miss a go!
This version of the game displays randomly generated mental maths
questions using the four main operations ( + - ¸ x ). The
difficulty of the game can be changed from the easiest level (using
numbers up to 5) to the hardest level (using numbers up to 30).
As the game progresses it displays the number of correct answers
achieved against the different kinds of questions answered making
this a useful assessment tool.
The spelling version uses randomised word banks taken from either
the KS1 or KS2 Literacy Strategy high and medium frequency words.
On hearing the word spoken (sound required) the pupil types it in
and if correct their counter is placed in the frame. At the end
of the game a record file is produced that shows which words they
attempted and how they spelt them. This forms a useful method of
assessment as well as a record of achievement for future reference.
The activity is based on a familiar game which children will be
able to relate to. This provides a fun context for what could sometimes
be deemed as mundane but essential routines (periodic mental maths
and spelling tests). Pupils can either play against the computer
or against each other. By using an interactive whiteboard the whole
class can become involved in the activity.
Although using the activity is fairly intuitive it is recommended
that the instructions are read prior to using the game to ensure
that the levels of difficulty are appropriate to the pupils’
abilities. Also, the game can be played by either mouse or keyboard
input so the different methods need to be identified in advance
as well as making sure the computer’s sound is functioning
It is worth noting that in the maths version there is a running
tally of (in)correctly answered questions which will aid both summative
and diagnostic assessment opportunities. For the spelling version,
at the end of the game, a record file can be displayed (as well
as printed and saved) which shows a list of the words attempted
during the game together with the spellings that the pupil entered.
Again, this is an extremely useful document for either record or
An added extra to Counter Attack is an additional version of the
game which doesn’t require any questions to be answered. This
means that the game can be played in its own right ‘just for
fun’. Having said that, in order to beat the computer (or
another opponent) there is still a lot of problem solving and strategy
development being exercised!
|Support materials description:
|The high_frequency_words.pdf contains the NLS
list of high and medium frequency words for levels 1, 2 and
3 and will prove useful for either reinforcement or extension
Mathematics – KS1:
Ma2 1a,b; 3a,b,c,d,e
English – KS1:
En2 1a,e,f,g; En3 4b,c,e
Mathematics – KS2:
Ma2 1a,k; 3a,d,e,f,h
English – KS2:
En2 1a,b; En3 4a,b,c,d