Please May I Have

Years 2 - 6

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This simple game not only provides opportunity to practise place value skills, but also reinforces the use of good manners when asking for something. It is a calculator game for two in which they give digits to each other based on place value, for example, a two, two tens or two hundreds. Playing the game and generally emphasising the language of place value (for example, 293 is two hundred and ninety-three not two-nine-three) helps to avoid the misunderstanding described in the activity Wipe Out. Suitable for threading.


  • One calculator per child


The game is played by two players. The players secretly enter a number in a chosen range, say 100 - 999. They then take turns asking for a digit. If one of the opponent's digits is guessed the opponent must state the value of the digit. eg:

Suppose Player A has 145 on the screen and Player B asks:

Please may I have a 4?
Player A must answer:
Yes, you may have 4 tens.
At this point Player A would have to subtract 40 from his/her total and Player B would have to add 40 to his/hers.


  • addition facts beyond 10
  • addition facts to 10
  • decimal interpretation
  • exploring large numbers
  • mathematical conversation
  • number line - ordering, operations
  • numeral recognition
  • operations - whole number
  • place value
  • recording - calculator
  • subtraction
  • writing numerals

If a player does not have the digit requested, they answer:

Sorry I don't have one.
If a player has more than one of the digits requested, they may give any one without revealing that they have others.
Play continues like this until one player either reaches a calculator screen above 999 and wins, or below 100 and loses.
For older children the game can also be played within a decimal range, say 01 to 10.
  • What would your screen look like if it was smaller than 01?

Return to Calculating Changes Activities

Calculating Changes ... is a division of ... Mathematics Centre