Toss Up
Years (1) 2 - 6

You can play this game on your own but it's more fun with two [2] people.


  • Print one [1] copy of each of these playing boards by clicking on the image:

    ... ... ...
    If you decide our boards are too small make your own.

  • Print one copy of this score sheet.
    It is enough for one or two players.
    Print more when you need them.
  • Collect five [5] plastic caps from milk bottles or bottles of water or use five rubber hookey rings.
    Other objects work if they don't bounce around too much when you toss or drop them.
  • Write the title of this challenge and today's date on a fresh page in your maths journal.

The Game

How To Play
  • Put one of the playing boards on the floor against the wall.
  • The wall can be used for rebounds.
  • Step away about one arm's length.
  • Toss or drop five objects at the board.
  • To score you must land in the box under a number.
  • Put crosses on your score sheet to show where the objects landed.

How To Score

  • If you land in a box, you get the number above it.
  • Liners get the lower score.
  • Off the board gets zero [0].
  • You can use a calculator to help you score.

The photos show Sandy's tosses for one round.
Discuss each one and agree on the score.

If you think the scoring rules should be different you can change them now, but they become the rules for your games.

What is a Round?
  • Both players play Board A.
  • Both players play Board B.
  • Both players play Board C.
  • Both players play Board D.
Then the Round is finished.
What is a Game?
  • Three rounds = One game
How Do You Win?
There are two ways to win. Decide which one before you start playing.
  1. The person who wins 2 out of 3 rounds.
  2. The person who has the higher score when all three rounds are added up.

When the game is finished, cut the score sheet up the middle. Each person sticks their half in their journal.

Have fun exploring Toss Up.

Challenge 1

  • Play one game, three times a week for three weeks.
  • At the end, look back at your nine [9] score sheets and write a paragraph about what you have noticed or learnt by playing the game.

Challenge 2

  • What is the highest possible winning score in one round? Explain in your journal.
  • What is the lowest possible losing score in one round? Explain in your journal.
  • What is the lowest possible winning score in one round? Explain in your journal.

Challenge 3

There is something special about the numbers on each of the playing boards above.
Design your own playing board the same way.
Except for 1, you can't use any number that is already taken.
  • Click the picture to print this unfinished playing board.
  • Add your own missing numbers in the same way as the numbers on the other boards.
  • 1 is the only number by your board and the other boards.
Replace one of the other boards with your board and play a game.
In your journal explain to someone else how to decide the numbers on a Toss Up board.
  • For each board (including yours) suppose the board has one more column on the left side.
  • In your journal record the heading numbers for each of these extra columns.

Challenge 4

  • Zina scored a total of 87 for this round.
  • The crosses show all the caps that missed the board.
  • Find one way the other caps might have landed so the total is 87.
  • Can you do it a different way?
The Working Mathematically page might help you think of a way to start.

After you try for yourself, there is hint in Answers & Discussion.

Just Before You Finish

In your journal explain how to find the total on the 100/10/1 board just by looking. No calculation needed.


Answers & Discussion

  • You don't have five caps to use on every board.
  • One number is impossible to use.
  • You could 'go high' first by starting with one cap in the highest possible column on each board.
  • You could make a table of the possible numbers in order as the headings and try possible combinations in the rows underneath.
Here is one solution, but don't look until you really, really try for yourself.

Send any comments or photos about this activity and we can start a gallery here.


Maths At Home is a division of Mathematics Centre